Friday, November 7, 2014

3 comments Paul Daugherty Seems to Dislike the Sport He is Paid to Cover; Also Still Hates Adam Dunn

Some sportswriters seem to hate the sports they cover. Just off the top of my head I can think of guys like Jay Mariotti, Mike Lupica, and Phil Mushnick as three guys who just seem to hate sports, but enjoy the paycheck it provides to them. I think I can add Paul Daugherty to that list when it comes to covering baseball. It's not that he doesn't have a right to complain about the length of baseball games, it is that he treats the playoff games with such disdain as if the length of a playoff game is just one more reason to hate the sport of baseball. Daugherty makes the astute observation that baseball games are too long. Why hasn't anyone else complained about this before? This is totally new information to anyone who likes baseball! Also, as we will later learn, Paul Daugherty still hates Adam Dunn.

The Kansas City Royals aren't a baseball team. They're an unintentional rain delay.

But seriously, folks...

They haven't played an October baseball game in less than three hours, 38 minutes. Four of their six playoff games have consumed at least four hours.

And the games have mostly been exciting too! This only makes it worse though. Don't bore Paul Daugherty with exciting baseball games, just get them over with so he can get back to watching his "Criminal Minds" re-runs. 

Of course, until this year, the Royals hadn't played an October game of any sort since 1985. Maybe they're just taking it all in. 

Or maybe they had played four extra inning games when Paul Daugherty wrote this column. Pretty much any time a sporting event goes to extra time then that sporting event will last longer than it normally does. The Panthers-Bengals game that ended in a tie started at 1pm EST and ended around 5:00pm EST. That's a pretty long football game.

The Baltimore Orioles ought to be dog-tired. Maybe even as tired as baseball fans who've watched them play four hours, 37 minutes and four hours, 17 minutes in their last two games. 

Baseball games can be long, especially ones that goes into extra innings, and especially playoff games. Feel free to not watch them. 

Watching a manager think. What fun.  

Maybe you should go find another job that doesn't involve watching sports and watching a manager think. I can tell you the only thing worse than watching a manager think is hearing a sportswriter who makes his money from watching a manager think bitch about watching a manager think.  

In New York, Major League Baseball has appointed a committee to study why baseball games now take longer than trips to the moon.

Hey Paul, it's 2014. Trips to the moon don't happen anymore, so you may want to find a better comparison to how long baseball games last. Perhaps they last longer than my patience for dealing with your crotchety complaining about the time of baseball games. That's not a high threshold to clear though.

Committee members will spend lots of time walking around the room, adjusting their neckties, testing the wax buildup on the conference room floor, uttering practice words, shaking off others' practice words and staring blankly into space.

Of course, members will also have to take a few pitches, too. 

The irony of Paul Daugherty killing time and space in a column that has one basic premise which can be summed up in a paragraph, while complaining about how baseball players kill time while at-bat is delicious to me.

Look at it this way: Baseball is a game to enjoy while you're enjoying something else. A nap, for instance, or the detailed assemblage of a nuclear device.

How many times can Daugherty restate the same point? I guess we'll see. If you don't enjoy the sport of baseball then don't watch it. Few things are worse than hearing a sportswriter who hates the sports he covers bitch about covering that sport.

Theoretically, you could begin watching a postseason tilt at 8, take a break at 9 to hitch-hike across China, get a new lung, floss, carve a pumpkin and read a little Tolstoy and still be back to watch the last couple innings. 

Yes, the playoff baseball games are long, unlike the premise this column is built upon. I will flip channels while watching baseball games if I am at home, but mostly because I hate commercials. A better writer would offer several solutions to speed up the game he hates so much, as opposed to just bitching and moaning about how long the games are. A lesser writer, like a writer that Paul Daugherty seems to be, just complains and suggests an improvement that has already happened. What are suggestions to pick up the pace of the game? If you are bitching and not creating solutions then what's your point? 

What if you're not a fan?

Then I don't watch the whole game. The same thing I do if I am watching any sport and I'm not a fan of either participant in that game. 

What if your rooting interest trends more in the general direction of getting some sleep? 

Then I go the fuck to sleep and don't watch the game. See, there is nothing that says I have to watch an entire baseball game or watch any entire sporting event. It's fun to have control over my life and do what I want. 

I like baseball. I like it a lot. The older I get, the more I like it.

It's pretty clear you don't like baseball. Please don't lie. 

You actively watch the Bengals and Xavier or UC. The Reds? 

Actually, I find baseball to be more of a diversion than other sports because it moves at a slower pace. I can cook dinner, flip channels, do something else while watching it and don't feel like I constantly have to have my brain turned on when watching the game. So while I'm actually watching a baseball game, it's a diversion for me from the other stuff I have to do. Other sports I have to focus on entirely for a long period of time, so it doesn't feel as much like a diversion at times. I recognize I am weird in that way. 

There are nights, lots of them, between April and October when nothing else will do. 

That doesn't mean I'm not doing something else. 

Then do something else. That's the beauty of baseball. You can do something else while watching the game. It certainly sounds like you don't like the sport though. 

If you were a Bengals fan Sunday, can you imagine doing anything else between 1 and 5, when the game finally ended? That was four hours, too, just like a playoff baseball game. Those four hours were different than baseball's four hours.

If the Braves were in the playoffs, I would watch every minute of every playoff game. That's how it works when you love a sport and a team. I can't imagine doing anything different during those hours, unless the game conflicted with another sport, and then a decision has to be made. 

Baseball worries about losing young fans. It should. Kids whose attention spans are dictated by Twitter and Madden 2015 aren't hanging out by the flat screen for four hours for anything that doesn't come with a controller or a means to get on Facebook.

No, but young fans can get on Facebook while watching a baseball game. There's no doubt the game moves slow and improvements to pace of play should be made. Since Paul Daugherty gets paid to watch sports, it seems like a better column idea than simply bitching about pace of play is providing multiple suggestions to improve pace of play. 

And to think: Scoring is down in baseball. Fewer reasons to be excited, and more time not to be. Great job, baseball. 

Baseball writers when talking about PED users: "Steroids are ruining the integrity of the game! These steroid users have no place in baseball and shouldn't be earning money to play baseball. Get them out of the game forever! They are making a mockery of home run and scoring records!" 

Baseball writers when talking about how scoring is down: "Scoring is down! Baseball is losing the kids because no players are hitting home runs! Baseball needs to find a way to help teams score more runs and make the game more exciting like it used to be back in the Steroid Era!" 

More isn't better, unless chocolate is involved. More is just more.

Very deep. This should be inscribed on Paul Daughtery's tombstone when he dies of boredom from watching a baseball game.

Baseball needs to fix this. The logical answer is to shave commercial time, between innings and during the endless pitching changes. That won't happen.

Look, a solution! Not really, but this is about the best Daugherty can do. I think one of the best ways to speed up the pace of play is not give a pitcher warmup tosses when he enters the game, except in cases of injury to a pitcher. The pitcher is warmed up already from being in the bullpen, go out there and throw the baseball. It's a small improvement, but any improvement is an improvement. 

How about expanding the strike zone?

Actually Paul, that has already happened.

Way to make assumptions in lieu of research though. 

Better, how about enforcing it?

"Expand the strike zone, keep the strike zone like it is and just enforce the current strike zone, shrink the strike zone, don't have a strike zone and every pitch should be called a strike." 

Metrics have turned lots of hitters into ball-watching savants. Taking pitches, getting deep into counts, walking.

Obviously the pace of play issue is the fault of stat heads. Who else could be responsible? The same group who is constantly told, "What happens on the field matters, not your statistics! You can't measure what happens on the field!" are naturally responsible for what is happening on the field due to the use of the same metrics that can't measure or affect what happens on the field.

All have conspired to increase the number of pitches thrown. That by itself wouldn't be so bad, if batters and pitchers would stop preening, pondering and checking with their chiropractors between every pitch.

It's a conspiracy among stat heads to further ruin the game of baseball! Stat heads aren't satisfied with ruining the game by using metrics that suck the enjoyment out of the game, now they are brainwashing baseball players into taking a long time during each at-bat. 

Fattening the zone would make for more swings

The strike zone is already being fattened. 

Fewer walks, perhaps. Fewer strikeouts.

Wait, what? How would a more expanded strike zone result in fewer strikeouts? Wouldn't an expanded strike zone result in more strikeouts since more pitches will be called strikes? I know, I'm not as smart as Paul Daugherty, plus I actually like baseball, so perhaps I am completely incorrect. 

Fewer pitches. Fewer pitchers. Faster games. What we all want. Right?

I don't know if a large strike zone would result in fewer pitchers. But again, data shows (yes, data, so I understand that Daugherty may think this information is part of the conspiracy to ruin baseball) that the strike zone is expanding. 

Meantime, mainline that Monster, ballfan. Rev up the Rockstar. The playoffs are on. See you in four hours.

It's okay to just admit you don't like one of the sports you cover. Playoff games take forever and the games should be sped up, but there's no sense in complaining about it if you are only going to suggest an "improvement" that is already happening and hasn't sped games up.

It's well-known that Paul Daugherty isn't a fan of Adam Dunn. So of course he couldn't allow Dunn to retire without getting a few more shots at him in.

ADAM DUNN IS A GREAT GUY AND WAS A TERRIFIC PLAYER. . . I wasn't going to hold forth on this topic. Guy's retired, hasn't played here in years. Let it go, Doc.

But this is something that just can't be "let go." Something has to be said about Adam Dunn and how he seems like a great guy, but is really ruining baseball.

Then I read this latest God-ding up of the B.D., in Sports Illustrated, in reference to Dunn's prodigious ability to K:

And Daugherty KNEW something had to be done. No one can write anything positive about Adam Dunn without the real truth being stated. Someone had to be brave enough to take shots at Dunn after he has retired.

"Each time he swung and missed on strike three was agonizing for him, and he did everything he could to drag himself out there the next at-bat, hoping for better results.''

Oh, please.

Yeah, Adam Dunn didn't care. How dare anyone suggest otherwise!

Man played 14 years. Struck out at least 159 times in 12 of 'em. Never changed his approach. Never shortened his stroke. Never tried. He was just up there, agonizing and hoping.

His approach worked pretty well for him. He hit home runs, he got on-base, and struck out a lot. Dunn was paid to hit home runs and get on-base, so shortening his stroke to avoid strikeouts didn't seem like the best of ideas.

Had a natural ability to hit a baseball 400 feet. Never worked at doing anything else. Too busy reading car magazines. 

What else was Dunn supposed to work at doing? Was he supposed to learn to woodworking or some other skill? The things Dunn was bad at, defense and having speed aren't really things that he could have worked too hard at improving. He's not an agile guy, so he isn't going to magically become a faster runner and better outfielder, and I'm sure he worked at becoming a better fielder...just not to Paul Daugherty's satisfaction.

 The numbers crowd has tried to make the argument that there's nothing egregious about striking out. These are some of the same people who get all tingly upon hearing the phrase "on-base percentage.'' 

Probably because the way baseball teams can score runs is by getting men on-base. A double down the line can't score a run unless there is a runner on-base. So it's nice to have players who get on-base at a fairly high clip.

No sale. Put the ball in play, give yourself and your team a chance. 

There is something to be said for putting the ball in play as well, but when a player like Adam Dunn is at-bat and he is someone with poor speed then putting the ball in play can also result in more outs because he doesn't have the speed to leg-out infield singles. I love players who put the ball in play, but a guy like Adam Dunn doesn't need to just get the ball in play so he can run to first base. He is relied on to drive in runs, get on-base, and hit home runs.

I'm not sure why everyone else was so enamored with Dunn. He was self deprecating, sure. Rip yourself first, so no one else feels the need. But he never wanted to be anything more than what he was. I like athletes who get the most from their ability. Or more. 

Who is to say that Adam Dunn didn't get the most from his ability? Changing his approach at the plate could easily have cut down on strikeouts, but also cut down on home runs and walks. Is playing the game of baseball the way Paul Daugherty wants Dunn to play the game "getting the most of his ability" or simply reducing one strength of Dunn's game to improve a weakness in Dunn's game?

Have a good one, BD. I'm sure you will. You're free from the BS game that made you very, very rich.

I feel so much better now.

You should feel better. Finally, Adam Dunn is being treated like the real asshole he is and no positive words spoken about Dunn's career are written without the proper retort.

In this article, which was written three hours prior to Daugherty writing the above article about baseball's pace of play issues, Daugherty basically wrote the entire previous column on how playoff games are too slow in a single paragraph:

MORE ISNT BETTER. MORE IS JUST MORE. The cool thing about the MLB postseason, I guess, is that you can start watching a game at 8, take a break at 9 to hitch-hike cross-country, design a nuclear device, floss, carve a pumpkin and read a little Tolstoy and still be back to watch the last couple innings.

He uses the same jokes in this column he will later use in his column written three hours later. To be fair, it seems using the same jokes is Paul "getting the most out of his ability" to write.


Anonymous said...

Daugherty's article was so tedious and annoying I couldn't bring myself to finish this critique.

Chris said...

Geez Daugherty really depressed me with his crothety old man BS. I'm surprised that whoever pays Phil to write about baseball for a living would let an article about how much he hates the sport get printed. Unless Phil wants to be unemployed he better learn to start enjoying the job he is paid to do.

Phil is also following in the footsteps of such giants as Gregg Easterbrook in making an assumption up off the top of his head and imagining it to be true. How exactly does he know Adam Dunn never bothered to work at anything else? Are they friends? Did Phil spend everyday in the clubhouse to know Adam Dunn was reading car magazines instead of working on his game?

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, that says a lot because it wasn't even that long. His criticisms are just so boring. I'm not sure why this stuff gets published.

Chris, I'm sure Paul would say that because he covered Dunn then he knows he would sit around the clubhouse and do nothing. He's probably basing it on what he seems to have observed from Dunn. Dunn didn't show the passion for the game of baseball that Paul Daugherty so desperately wants to see...except from himself of course.