Monday, April 13, 2015

2 comments Ten Things I Think I Think Peter King Has Not Thought Of: David Steele Uses Quotes from Five Years Ago to Advocate for Tim Tebow Edition

I have a huge backlog of links that don't deserve a full post but should be mentioned on this blog in some form. So I thought I would clear them out and share little tidbits of bad sports journalism (or "nuggets" of bad journalism as Peter King would say). As always, the topic of these links bounce around all over the place. It's a real problem when an article doesn't merit a full post here and I will try to rectify that situation.

1. Let's start first with the ex-NFL quarterback who won't go away. That's Tim Tebow. David Steele lets his readers in on a secret. Those people who have coached and worked with Tim Tebow still think he can be an NFL quarterback. No way! And by the way, David takes testimonials from five years go to prove that Tebow can still play in the NFL. Doesn't that seem a bit ridiculous to try and prove Tebow can still be an NFL quarterback in 2015 by using a quote from 2010, prior to the time Tebow confirmed that he indeed is not an NFL quarterback?

Tim Tebow got another look from the NFL Monday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and he arrived to his tryout with the Eagles off of workouts with Tom House, the longtime major-league pitching coach who has worked on mechanics with Tom Brady and Drew Brees, among others.

Tom House made Drew Brees and Tom Brady into the quarterbacks they are today, so he can do the same for Tim Tebow. Obviously, the indication David Steele is giving here is really true. 

House, who had worked with the ex-Bronco and Jet before, was complimentary of Tebow, who hasn’t played a regular-season game since 2012 and was last on a roster in 2013 Patriots training camp. “He went from being a little inaccurate and didn’t throw a whole lot of spirals, to throwing very accurate and real good at spinning the ball,” House told the Boston Globe last week.

With all due respect to House and his track record, this all sounds familiar.

Coaches that Tebow has worked with or paid to have work with him think he'll be a good NFL quarterback? I don't believe it. It's not like these coaches have a vested financial interest in reinforcing their ability to turn college quarterbacks into good NFL quarterbacks or anything. No coach would say something in order to increase the perception he is good at his job.

House is the latest in a line of personal coaches Tebow has enlisted to work on his quarterback shortcomings, dating back to his days preparing to enter the NFL out of Florida in 2010.

People Tebow has paid to work with him and improve his ability think they did a good job in improving Tebow's ability. I'm not sure this should be news.

Nevertheless, here’s the list of Tebow tutors and their testimonials.

— “If this guy can’t be a starting quarterback in the NFL, then I was in the wrong profession for a lot of years.” — former NFL head coach Sam Wyche, who worked with Tebow before the draft, February 2010.

Considering Sam Wyche stated this prior to Tebow being drafted and failing out of the NFL, my only takeaway from this is that Sam Wyche was in the wrong profession for a lot of years.

Does David Steele realize using testimonials from BEFORE Tebow was drafted and failed in the NFL serves to only undermine the point he wants to prove that Tebow can play in the NFL? See Wyche made this statement in 2010 and then this statement was proven to be incorrect after that. So, that seems to run counter to the idea Tebow can play the quarterback position well in the NFL.

— “I don't know that I’m the only one who has the sense of Tim’s ability to be developed and become a very good player in the league. I believe in the right environment Tim Tebow will figure this out. He doesn't have explosive arm strength, but he has more than adequate arm strength to throw the ball in the NFL and make all the throws.’’ — then-CFL head coach Marc Trestman, who trained Tebow before the Senior Bowl, April 2010

This quote is from 2010, which is prior to the time Tebow washed out of the league. And again, this is a person with a vested interest in making it seem like Tebow can play in the NFL. Trestman wanted to make it seem like he can improve a quarterback's ability through training that quarterback.

— “I would hope wherever he ends up, they give him an opportunity to play, because if they do, they'll be pleasantly surprised. I think the guy can still play.” — quarterback consultant Steve Clarkson, April 2013

He can "still play"? Why use the word "still" there as if Tebow ever did play well in the past?

Also, Tebow got a shot with the Patriots in 2013, but I'm sure Bill Belichick just doesn't have the right eye for the talent that Tebow showed in training camp. Belichick is well-known for having a poor eye for talent at the quarterback position.

— “Do I think he can play the quarterback position in the NFL? Yeah, no question. Like I told Tim when I found out … that he signed, ‘You're locked and loaded, ready to go.’” — former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Chris Weinke, June 2013

Except the Patriots didn't keep Tebow around. Notice how none of these quotes are from 2014 or 2015? There is a reason for that.

— “In shorts, out there on the football field, he changed his motion and he’s very smooth. I’ve got it on film, and film doesn’t lie. What he does when he goes out in a game situation and live bullets, I’m not sure what will happen. I just know he’s a great guy, a hard worker, and this off-season his throwing motion became 100 times better.” — quarterback trainer Dennis Gile, who worked with partner Mike Giovando on Tebow, June 2013

And that's it. Another quarterback trainer swearing that Tim Tebow is an NFL quarterback. This quote is from a relatively recent two years ago. I'm not sure the point David Steele wanted to prove, unless his point was, "Hey 2-5 years ago people who have a vested interest in Tim Tebow succeeding stated he could succeed. That has to mean something as long as you ignore their vested interest and the fact years have gone by where their statements have been proven to be incorrect, right?"

2. Joel Sherman thinks the Yankees dodged a huge bullet by not signing Cliff Lee as a free agent in 2010. Because sure, Lee was great during 2011-2014, but he's injured now. Clearly, Cliff Lee could not have helped the Yankees win any games during that stretch of time from 2011-2014.

The current rotation concerns of the Yankees and Rangers could be worse — Cliff Lee could have accepted one of the two highest total bids in December 2010.

Lee turned down the Yankees’ seven-year, $150 million offer and the six year, $138 million bid of the Rangers — the teams viewed as the strong front-runners — to sign a five-year, $120 million pact with the Phillies.

Cliff Lee's performance from 2011-2014. I'll let you decide if this would have been helpful for the Yankees to have as a part of their starting pitching staff.

2011: 32 starts 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA and 1.027 WHIP
2012: 30 starts 6-9 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.114 WHIP
2013: 31 starts 14-8 with a 2.87 ERA and 1.010 WHIP
2014: 13 starts 4-5 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.377 WHIP

Now, after missing the final two months last year, Lee has received two diagnosis the tear in the region needs surgery. That would end his 2015 season and, since this is the final year guaranteed on his contract, Lee has suggested he might retire if he needs the procedure.

Cliff Lee performed at a high level for three of the five years on his contract during a time when the Yankees certainly could have used another starter during the 2011 and 2012 playoffs, especially since they lost the ALDS 3-2 to the Tigers in 2011.

The Rangers, already with a thin rotation, are likely to lose ace Yu Darvish for the season if he opts for Tommy John surgery. The Yankees’ rotation is shaky in part due to the uncertainty of CC Sabathia. There is, in fact, strong parallels to Lee and Sabathia — both won Cy Youngs for the Indians (Sabathia in 2007, Lee in 2008) and both were extreme lefty workhorses with Sabathia leading the majors in innings from 2005-13 (1,999 ¹/₃ innings) and Lee fifth (1,833 ²/₃), which probably explains why they have broken down.

OR Cliff Lee broke down because he's 36 years old and older pitchers tend to break down more. The fact Lee broke down for 1.5 years of his 5 year contract doesn't mean the Yankees couldn't have used him during the 3.5 years when he was pitching at a high level.

Sabathia tried hard to recruit Lee to the Yankees in the winter of 2010. Maybe the Yankees would have won championships with Sabathia and Lee together or Lee would not have broken down as a Yankee. But in 2015, it sure looks fortunate Sabathia’s recruitment didn’t succeed.

But from 2011-2014, it sure looks like pure stupidity to think the Yankees couldn't have used Lee. Why would Joel Sherman think at all about Lee's past performance though? After all, it's not like the Yankees have ever signed an expensive free agent only to have him get injured.

3. Rick Telander furthers a narrative he wants to further by claiming the guy who worked with Bill James while employed by the Red Sox eschews Sabermetrics.

In 2002, at age 28, Epstein became the Red Sox’ general manager, the youngest in major-league history. He would win two World Series titles in the next five years, ending an 86-year championship drought for the Red Sox.
Here’s the relevance of  this to Theo’s current job as president of the Cubs: Sabermetrics and those algorithms he and his crew punched into computers, which then spat out genius statistical info . . . that stuff is dead as prairie chickens.

Epstein has learned the error of his ways. Sure, his use of Sabermetrics helped to win the Red Sox two World Series titles, but it's all about the humanity for Epstein now.

Well, moneyball is not actually dead — it’s just no more special than a pile of dead chickens.

‘‘Fifteen years ago there weren’t that many teams specializing in the statistical model to succeed,’’ he says. ‘‘You could really get an advantage using it. In the offseason of 2002, into 2003, the Red Sox needed to improve our offense, and we needed to get on base more. So we could sign Davey Ortiz to a one-year deal, Bill Mueller to a two-year deal, and also sign Kevin Millar, whom no one wanted and was going to Japan, based largely on the numbers, on the things you could learn from the statistical analysis.  Now the world is so flat — everyone’s doing that!’’

Oh, that makes sense. Moneyball isn't dead, it's just being so used in such a wide and prevalent manner by every MLB team that it's now become a part of the evaluation process for a team's front office. So by saying Moneyball is dead, what Rick Telander really means is that Moneyball is more alive than it ever has been.

So what does a smart man do to once again move beyond the herd? He goes new age. He looks at the game he loves and sees that a really big part of it has been taken over by the numerical lists he helped make so popular, yet an equally large part of it has seemingly been ignored—the emotional, human part. How’s that for irony, moneyballers?

You certainly told them, Rick. Feel good about yourself and pat yourself on the back---oh, you are already patting yourself on the back. Just carry on then.

‘‘I think the real competitive advantage now is in player development—understanding that your young players are human beings,’’ says Epstein, whose sky-blue shirt and sky-blue cap made this reporter mistake the now-41-year-old at first for a beer salesman. ‘‘Understanding them physically, fundamentally, and mentally — investing in them as people — and helping them progress. And there’s no stat for that.’’

For example, as human beings Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are really fucking good at baseball. There is a statistic to show this as true.

He finds it embarrassing that he and so many of the front-office people don’t speak Spanish, so a Spanish tutor is coming in two mornings a week to teach it to the brass.


‘‘I don’t think everything in baseball — or life — is quantifiable,’’ he says. ‘‘Sure, if you ignore the stats, if you ignore empiricism, if you ignore objective evidence, then you’re a fool.

Rick Telander conveniently ignores this quote when talking about how Theo Epstein has made a change in how he evaluates players. Epstein calls people "fools" for ignoring statistics and other information used by Sabermetricians to evaluate players, but it doesn't fit the narrative so it's useless to Rick.

But if you invest in stats so fully that you’re blind to the fact the game is played by human beings, then you’re just as much of a fool.’’


So Theo Epstein evaluates players using a mix of Sabermetrics and scouting by watching the players play? You know, like every other MLB team does. Rick worked hard to paint this as an anti-stats statement by Theo Epstein. The narrative takes precedence over reality.

4. Now Rick Telander gets increasingly depressed about the hiring of John Fox.

On January 10, 2015 when Ryan Pace was hired, Rick was pretty optimistic.

But if you count teams that simply made it to the Super Bowl, the field opens up. Indeed, in the last 16 years, seven other teams have gotten to the Super Bowl and lost. They are the 49ers, Cardinals, Eagles, Panthers, Titans and Falcons. And, almost forgot, the Bears. That makes 18 teams that have played in the Super Bowl since 1999.
So is it wrong to ask, Why not us?

The point being: Why not the Bears? Why not soon? Like 2015?

But who cares about the Cardinals? The Bears went 5-11 this season. Can they return to title quality in one year, as chairman George McCaskey said they should? Yes. And, they should.

It can be done.

So what if you’ve got Jay Cutler at quarterback? You win with him, not because of him. Or you dump him and get a young Russell Wilson or a cagey Joe Theismann or Phil Simms or Jeff Hostetler or Brad Johnson.


Then on January 17, 2015 after the Bears hired John Fox, Rick became a little more pessimistic about the Bears chances of turning it around.

I’ll join the masses and say that the Bears’ hiring of John Fox was a nice thing.
But am I blown away?
Not really.

A football team is so much more than its coach, and sometimes folks don’t want to admit this. Mike Ditka has always said that if you don’t have the player talent, you can’t win.

Oh no, now the same players the Bears had a week earlier that could turn it around can't turn it around anymore.

You go, John Fox! But the ferret in that box over there is named Jay Cutler, and he’s yours. Hope you’ve got gloves and a plan.

Oh boy, looks like the Bears may want to get a Russell Wilson (you know, that type of quarterback like Wilson that's just hanging around on a street corner waiting to be signed) or a cagey Joe Theismann type. Rick's depression has begun.

Then two days later on January 19, 2015 Rick hits rock bottom about the John Fox hiring.

John Fox walks and talks like a coach, and, of course, he was one, and he is one again. Your brand new Bears leader, folks, hot off the rails from Denver, where he was the Broncos’ coach as recently as seven days ago — John (no middle name) Fox!
Thirteen years of NFL head-coaching success for the man who will turn 60 next month. Hoo-rah.

What happened to signing cagey quarterbacks and winning with the players the Bears have, because IT CAN BE DONE? Where did the happiness go?

Risking such, I just want to say that maybe Fox isn’t perfect. Maybe, that’s all. Nor can I think of anyone better at the moment to take the spot of Marc Trestman, who leaves after a 5-11 season.

It's all over now, baby blue. Cue the Morrissey (not Rick) and start to anticipate the downward spiral from the eternal happiness that Rick felt just nine days earlier.

So let’s get away from groupthink for a moment — that is, Bears fans’ and management’s certitude du jour that a veteran coach who has been to two Super Bowls, winning neither, is a stroke of pure genius. (May I remind you that Lovie Smith, who took the Bears to a Super Bowl and had a final season of 10-6, was run out of town so that the professorial Trestman could go 13-19 in two seasons.)

It is possible, you know — and don’t stone me for simply mentioning it — that Fox is here to chill and run out the skein on a nice, if unspectacular, career. Five more years, and he’s got Medicare, baby!

It says he’s a fairly mellow, bland guy who will bore you to death at news conferences and show that much pizzazz on the field. He’s good at defense, and he’s known as a players’ coach. But he has never made it all the way to the top.

‘‘He drove Elway crazy because he didn’t hold himself, the players or coaches accountable after losses.  He’ll be an improvement in Chicago, but he won’t win a Super Bowl.’’
No, this isn’t gospel. Nor am I a prophet. Nor is Shapiro.
Just trying to tell it like it might be.

Nine days earlier the future was so bright for the Bears. Then the Bears hired a head coach that Rick Telander admits was probably the best person for the vacant head coaching position and the future suddenly turned cloudy. Weird how that happened when nothing else changed, isn't it?

5. To add to Rick Telander's dismay, he doesn't know what's happened to Bruce Jenner. More importantly, how does Bruce Jenner's gender change impact Rick Telander?

Bruce Jenner and I are the same age — or we will be on Oct. 28, when he turns 66, like yours truly — and I guess that’s as far as the similarities go.
I used to think we had things in common.

Rick Telander does not want breasts. Let's get this out of the way at the very beginning.

I used to idolize Jenner, such as idolization flows from a guy in his mid-20s who follows a white, similar-sized (6-1, 195 pounds — though far more muscular), similar-aged, Midwestern college-educated, long-locked, striving athlete who soon would be an Olympic gold-medal winner in the brutal decathlon and, thus, the ‘‘world’s greatest athlete.’’

I can deal with a lot of things in life. But Jenner, who is, if we believe reports — and our eyes — transitioning to become a woman, throws me for a loop. I’m sorry, it just does. I am who I am. I apologize if I have offended anyone.

Well Rick, Jenner's transition to a woman is mostly about you and how you handle his transition. After all, prior to transitioning Jenner should have at least consulted you on how your memories of him as a decathlete would be impacted by his transition.

If Jenner knows he is a woman long trapped in an incredibly masculine body, then so be it. The extreme plastic surgery, the Adam’s apple apparently shaved, the ponytail, the breasts supported by a sports bra, the nail polish — no man would do that for kicks.

Except for Jay Cutler. He just wants to watch the world burn.

Jenner was featured on the front of a Wheaties box, for God’s sake, the signature placement for the greatest American heroes. But I’ll ask you: Does anybody eat Wheaties anymore? Does anybody notice what’s on the cover of what they eat?

No Rick, nobody eats Wheaties anymore. You know why? Because Bruce Jenner has affected your memories of the past. Much like you, no one else can eat a bowl of cereal without searching inside themselves while eating that cereal wondering, "How can I eat this delicious goodness knowing 40 years ago a man appeared on the front of the box and that man is now a woman? Can women even eat Wheaties? If so, SHOULD women be allowed to eat Wheaties?"

In 1976, Jenner’s gold medal reaffirmed Americans’ belief in our ability to counter communist determinism with democratic freedom. That’s what I felt; that’s what I believed.

Now that Jenner is transitioning to a woman, communism has won. Mr. Putin, build that wall back up. Bruce Jenner is looking for high heels and communism is in style again.

Jenner was somebody I could look up to, a role model so close to me in so many ways, I felt, that he became almost a fantasy. He didn’t just beat a foe, like a heavyweight boxer. He beat the best in the world all at once.

I had the Sports Illustrated cover of him with his jacked arms raised, his fists clenched, his eyes closed in ecstasy, pinned on my wall. The headline read, ‘‘AWRRIGHT!’’

Now when he looks at the headline all Rick reads is "AWASALEONPURSES!"

I’ve seen Chaz Bono.

Rick has one gay friend and one black friend. He counts them. This makes him a non-racist and definitely not a bigot.

But I’m writing this from my perspective, my world. It’s all I know.
And I’m dizzy. I’m almost lost.

Bruce Jenner definitely should have thought about Rick Telander's nostalgia and the fate of Wheaties cereal before taking steps to make himself happier.

6. Phil Mushnick warns his readers about "dangerous" basketball. Yep, you guessed it. Much like how Florida Gulf Coast won games by dunking, Phil doesn't like it when amateur athletes dunk. It sends a bad message to the kids.

“Would I have yanked one of my kids for doing that? In a heartbeat.”
Jack Alesi, 62, reckons he has been coaching basketball “since I was 18,” the last 30 years at Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School, the last 20 of those as head varsity boys coach. Friday night, Xaverian plays Christ The King in the Diocesan final.

Alesi is talking about this dunk:

“I’m not one to stifle creativity,” Alesi said Wednesday.

Just don't do any creative or fancy dunks. That's not stifling creativity, it's only standing up for what's right and good about sports. Sports are NOT entertainment.

“If a kid finds it easier to dunk the ball than lay it in, fine by me. Bob Cousy dribbled between his legs to the benefit of his teams. There’s a difference between creative and plain stupid. TV can’t seem to distinguish between the two. It doesn’t even try.

“I wouldn’t try to embarrass that LSU kid, but if ever there was a teaching moment, that was it. Take him out, explain it, put him back in.”

"I'm old and have some weird thing about how you shouldn't use your athleticism to put on a show for those who pay to watch you play basketball. Don't make me uncomfortable by dunking the basketball in a creative manner. This isn't my issue, this is YOUR issue. It was stupid to try that dunk, even though you pulled it off. I'm old, if I haven't made that clear enough. I don't want to stifle your creativity, but just don't do anything creative that the fans might enjoy. Here, have some Wheaties."

Alesi was still flabbergasted and frustrated by the glorious hysteria the deep-thinking ESPN basketball experts, studio anchors and production shot-callers made over LSU forward Jarell Martin’s breakaway slam dunk that was preceded by a between-his-legs, greater degree-of-difficulty move — versus no one — in a tie game Saturday against Florida.

I like how Phil Mushnick goes through life trying to find things to be offended by. It's a bitter, sad life when your only purpose is to complain about how offended you are by the present and continuously long for the past.

“Would these TV guys coach kids to do such a thing, especially in a tie game, instruct them to turn an easy two points into a difficult two points? Do they really believe that that kid made a great play, did the right thing? Really? Honestly?

Did he do "the right thing?" An unpaid amateur athlete chose to dunk in a creative manner during a tie game and it's being couched in terms of "right" and "wrong." Unbelievable.

“I watch what TV has done to this game, and I shake my head. I do. It’s enough to make you cry.”

Cry? Like you would cry over an athlete dunking the basketball in a tie game? That's something you would actually cry about? The only thing shameful or dangerous in regard to this story is how Phil Mushnick and Alesi manage to turn an amateur athlete dunking a basketball into a story about "right and wrong."

7. Want to know why Max Scherezer isn't back with the Tigers? It's because he knew his market value and that hurt Mike Ilitch's feelings.

The pitcher had wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam with two strikeouts and a line drive to center in a critical playoff game. He spun around and bounced off the mound. He pumped his fist toward the heavens. And then he walloped his teammates with a series of monstrous high-5s, shrieking in triumph.

Those were human emotions. Joy in triumph. Max's overwhelming display of his joy was understandable at the moment.

But emotions are common to all people. And some people do not display them as openly as Scherzer did that October afternoon in 2013 when he rescued the Tigers, in relief, from the brink of playoff elimination by the Athletics.

Mike Ilitch is private and he is proud. Winning means just about everything to him. It has since he and Marian, his wife, blended some flour in a pot of water and created a pizza mixture that would turn into heavy millions.

Long story short here, the Tigers made a contract offer to Max Scherzer that he rejected and this made Ilitch upset and sealed that Scherzer would not be back with the Tigers after the 2014 season. Apparently Ilitch is so proud that he doesn't understand how business negotiations work.

One year ago this month, Ilitch approved an offer of $144 million to cement Scherzer to the Tigers for six years.

The offer was rejected. Scherzer, the projected Tiger for life, turned down the money and the security. He and his slick agent, Scott Boras, gambled that there would be more money offered and more security in a year.

Two things:

1. I love how Green calls Boras "slick" because he got the most money possible for his client in free agency. That's pretty much the job Boras was hired to do and he did it well. That's not "slick," that's competent.

2. There was more money and more security offered in a year. So Ilitch doesn't have to offer Scherzer another contract after the $144 million was rejected, but Scherzer gambled and it paid off.

But you don't reject Mike Ilitch. You don't snub him. You don't scoff at Ilitch's generosity.

Haha..."generosity" that ended up being less than Scherzer could make on the open market. I'm not sure I would call that being "generous" more than it would be offering Scherzer a contract which was fair, but not what he ended up being worth on the open market. Scherzer thought he was worth more and it turns out he was right. There's no reason to take it personally.

You don't stamp on Ilitch's ego. Even the best pitcher in the American League, advised by the shrewdest player agent in the business, could never get away with insulting Ilitch.

Except, Scherzer did get away with a bigger contract that had more security.

"I think we've made it clear that we have not been pursuing the situation," Dombrowski told The News' Chris McCosky after Scherzer agreed to sign with the Nationals in January. "We've said it numerous times . . .

"We made a real run at Max last spring and it didn't work."

Ilitch never cared to match the Washington offer. The guess here is if the Tigers had made a matching offer a couple of months ago, Scherzer would have grabbed it. Even if the Tigers came somewhat close the Nationals' jackpot, Scherzer, I reckon, would have grabbed less money in defiance of Boras.

Maybe he would have. I don't know. A pitcher who turns down $144 million certainly sounds like a pitcher who is looking to maximize his value on the free agent market.

My theory is, "Goodby." You don't dare to rankle Mike Ilitch. Farewell!

So hurt feelings caused by a rejected business contract is the reason Scherzer isn't with the Tigers anymore. Scherzer landed with a team that is competing for a World Series title and he got more money and a longer contract than the Tigers offered...Ilitch sure showed him didn't he? 

8. Steve Dilbeck has not been pleased with the Dodgers for hiring Andrew Friedman and his Stats Geek army. So he is taking great pride in the Dodgers' best pitching prospect being sent down to minor league camp. After all, who didn't expect an 18 year old to make the Dodgers' Opening Day roster?

The first cut is the deepest, particularly if you’re one of the four sent out. And especially if you’re been hyped as much as left-hander Julio Urias.

An 18 year old pitcher who has never pitched above A+ ball is expected to be one of the first cuts out of camp. Nothing else would make sense. It's entirely possible for Urias to be a great pitcher one day, but he's 18 years old and Steve Dilbeck shouldn't take such idiotic glee in Urias being sent down.

But Urias, the 18-year-old wunderkind, was one of the first four players reassigned to the minor-league camp Saturday by the Dodgers.

Most of the winter Dilbeck thought Urias should have been traded for a proven baseball player. That's what this is all about. It's about Dilbeck disagreeing with the direction of the Dodgers franchise and doing whatever he can to make it seem like Andrew Friedman is constantly screwing up.

Despite his electric stuff, Urias looked like a teenager who could use some more seasoning in his two spring outings.

This is most likely because he IS a teenager who could use some more seasoning before he's ready to play in the majors. Dilbeck can't believe this is true though. If Urias isn't ready to dominate in the majors RIGHT NOW then he'll never be ready. The Dodgers should just trade him now while his value is still high.

Dilbeck needs to stop being passive-aggressive in his constant assault against Andrew Friedman. This assault against Friedman is based on Dilbeck's dislike of advanced statistics. That's it. So it's come to where Dilbeck is being sarcastic and snarky about an 18 year old pitcher being sent down to minor league camp, as if this means anything long-term for the Dodgers or the 18 year old pitcher. I hate it when sportswriters have agendas.

9. Dilbeck also didn't want the Dodgers to trade Matt Kemp. Despite being a critic of Kemp's in the past, once Dilbeck saw a chance to criticize Andrew Friedman he immediately became Kemp's biggest fan. Now Dilbeck is writing stories about Kemp in order to point out that he wasn't a bad teammate. It's just sometimes his teammates didn't like him. This wouldn't affect the clubhouse chemistry. Steve Dilbeck is going to run Andrew Friedman out of town, no matter what it takes. He blames Friedman for using too many statistics to evaluate players and now he thinks Friedman factored in the human element of having good clubhouse chemistry too much by trading Matt Kemp.

Matt Kemp is mystified, and perhaps some of you are mystified that he would be mystified. He’s not bewildered at his trade by the Dodgers to the Padres, but by the implication that his departure has helped rid the L.A. of some evil clubhouse cancer.

I can't recall anyone in the Dodgers organization saying that Kemp was a cancer, so this implication is being brought up and furthered by sportswriters like Steve Dilbeck. He suggested that Kemp was a cancer and has set about to disprove this as true.

I’d say this was the most overblown Dodgers story of the off-season, but really it has only been propagated by a couple of national baseball writers -- and it takes no imagination to figure out whose ear they have -- and not the local beat writers who actually know the team.

Yeah! The Dodgers players liked Matt Kemp and no one should write differently!

Kemp had a way of strutting and enjoying the spotlight that may have rubbed some teammates the wrong way. But his days of “see how cool I can look playing center field” were well past him.

Oh, well I guess there is that too.

At midseason, when he unhappily had been moved from center to left and was playing something slightly less than every day, he would have been served sharing his thoughts only with management.

“I want to play every day, if it's with the Dodgers, if it's with somebody else,” Kemp said then.

Being unhappy with his role on the team and not wanting to change positions to help the team, these are two things that absolutely would NOT affect how Kemp's teammates liked him. Plus, this is all Andrew Friedman's fault somehow.

Looking back, Kemp told Hernandez, “I kept hearing maybe he's going to platoon. For me, it wasn't something I was able to wrap my mind around. I felt like if I wouldn't have said anything, just let it all play out the way it played out, they would have said I didn't care about playing on the field. But when I said I had to be in there playing every day, they said I was a bad teammate. I don't feel like that makes me a bad teammate. I know my abilities and I know when I'm healthy and I'm on the field, I could have helped my team win.”

So Kemp was just saying that he thought he should play everyday and didn't want to platoon. If he had just kept his mouth shut and not worried about platooning then "they" would have written that he doesn't care about the team because he was willing to put his ego aside for the betterment of the team. Great point. 

That might sound a bit more selfish than many would like, but it’s nothing outlandish, either.

No, but it is the sort of thing that can rankle teammates just a little bit. Kemp was basically saying, "I want to play everyday and I'm better than a guy who platoons in the outfield." I can see how that wouldn't cause Kemp's teammates to clap him on the back and congratulate him on taking one for the team. 

Kemp is only 30 and hopefully has a long career still ahead of him. He actually looks pretty good in a Padres uniform, though looking good was never his problem. And neither was being some grand clubhouse cancer.

I think the only ones saying that Kemp was a clubhouse cancer are those like Steve Dilbeck who want to explain a reason why Kemp was traded away that doesn't deal with his performance on the field. The truth is in the middle, that while Kemp wasn't a great teammate (despite Dilbeck's protests that Kemp wasn't THAT bad, which is enough to piss off a few teammates), nobody should think Kemp was traded because he was a bad teammate. The funny part is that Dilbeck speaks out against Friedman using too many computers and numbers to evaluate players while ignoring the human aspect, but also claims that Friedman only paid attention to the human aspect and ignored the numbers and statistics by trading Matt Kemp. Friedman is too numbers-oriented unless that perception doesn't fit the agenda Steve Dilbeck has. In that case, Dilbeck feels free to flip this perception around to fit whatever agenda he has on a given day.

10. Here is something that isn't bad sportswriting from Bruce Jenkins. He dares to take a measured approach to the use of analytics.

Charles Barkley seems to think there’s some sort of war going on. He fights it alone, well on his way to becoming chairman of the “I don’t get analytics” committee.

He ridiculed analytics as “crap,” apparently not realizing he was also denouncing rebound totals and points per game. As far as his dismissing stat wizards as “people who never played the game,” there’s some truth to that. But if Barkley wants to believe that such NBA icons as Gregg Popovich and Pat Riley don’t conduct extensive studies of advanced metrics, he’s wildly misguided.

The statistical revolution hasn’t taken over the major sports, it merely enhances player evaluation at every level. Every smart executive crafts a harmonious relationship between long-trusted scouts (as in “trust your eyes”) and the volumes of advanced metrics that prove invaluable in analyzing matchups, tendencies and percentages.

This is impossible. It's either one or the other. Just ask Rick Telander. A team either hates or loves advanced statistics. There can be no in between. Ever. Never. No NBA coach or GM would ever admit to use advanced statistics.

Warriors GM Bob Myers, to FM 95.7: “When we make decisions, analytics are never more than 50 percent of the process.”

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle: “There’s a lot of information available, but 'selectively’ is the word. There are tools there that are extremely useful. You just have to make sure you don’t overdo it.”

Houston coach Kevin McHale: “It’s just another tool in the toolbox, and very useful. But the toughest thing in this business is how much does a guy love to play? How much does he love to compete? How tough is he? How is he going to play when someone kicks his ass? What’s he going to do the next day?”

Oh. So Bruce Jenkins is writing that NBA teams use advanced statistics as part of the evaluation process and admit to it? What happened to "either/or" and sportswriters claiming that statistics are ruining the sport? This is happening, lack of evidence be damned.

This is a war that doesn’t exist. Only a fool dares to belittle either side.

Exactly. Maybe when the anti-advanced stats crowd stops belittling the use of these statistics "idiots" like Daryl Morey will feel free to not belittle those who sound ignorant when dismissing new ideas, simply because they are threatened by these ideas. 


Koleslaw said...

1. Tim Tebow would make a fine third string QB on a 4-12 team.

2. Derek Jeter missed like, the whole season in 2013. This means he was completely worthless as a player. Never mind all the games he did play. Actually, fun fact, Jeter had never played every game in a season. JETER SUX.

6. Jesus, people are still complaining about dunking? In 2015? It's hurting the game or something? It's causing white women to go crazy and start having indiscriminate sex with black men?

Bengoodfella said...

Koleslaw, he wouldn't be a bad option as a third QB on a bad team. Otherwise, those quotes are all from years ago because nobody says things like that about him anymore.


The dunk was overly-exciting and served to get the crowd excited. At a sporting event, this is not allowed. Sure, it was a really fancy dunk, but it's entertainment and the kid is in college. Mushnick needs to lighten up a lot.