Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Today's little snippet comes from Woody Paige. This is in response to J.A. Adande calling Kobe Bryant the best player in the league at making difficult shots:

I find it funny J.A. said he's (Kobe Bryant) the toughest shot shooter in the league. That's like saying any landing is a good landing. All landings on planes I'm on, when it gets on the ground--same way if the shot goes in, that's not a tough shot.

No idea what Woody was trying to say about planes. Whatever. The shot thing is utterly moronic. Just because the shot goes in doesn't mean that it lacked a greater degree of difficulty. I don't care what you say, Lebron dunking on Nate Robinson is easier than Derek Fisher putting up a shot with 0.4 seconds left and Manu Ginobli on his hip.

Paige is old.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hot Piece of Chass

My, oh my, how the time flies. Sorry for the horrific slack job over the last few weeks, people. Discovering the tv show Dexter will do that to you. But much like my favorite prime time serial killer, I'm back to slice up whatever shitty sportswriting that has transpired. What better place to start than with the notorious, multiple-offender Murray Chass? This guy is pissed off that people have the nerve to have an opinion about the stuff he writes on his site published on the world wide web. Let's find out why.

There is nothing in sports that creates the controversy and the debate provoked by voting for the Hall of Fame. More than a week after the results of the latest voting were announced, I was still getting e-mail about the results. Everyone is an expert, fans and bloggers alike. They all know better than the people who actually vote in the election, and they eagerly tell us so.

Kinda comes with the territory, Chassy. Don't consistently post articles on a website (it's not a blog!) and not expect people to comment on what you're saying. If it bothers you so much perhaps you should be posting these articles in a word document, not the internet.

A reader of this site told me in an e-mail that my ballot, which I disclosed before the results were announced, “contains votes for players I do not believe deserve to be in the Hall of Fame and you failed to vote for players who clearly deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.”

Sounds like an intelligent guy--not to mention very level-headed. I would have thrown a few more adjectives in there. I mean, the guy did vote for Jack Morris over Bert Blyleven.

“Clearly deserve” in whose judgment? His, of course. Does that make him right and me wrong? Of course not. Am I right? Yes. Why? Because my opinion counts and his doesn’t. My ballot was one of the 539 counted in the election. He did not have a vote. Therefore, his opinion is worthless as far as the election is concerned.

That's right, everyone. Murray Chass's opinion is correct because he has a vote... So, theoretically, if I had a vote and I voted for Jose Vizcaino (he signed my hat when I was little, ought to be worth a decent amount if he's in the Hall of Fame, right?!), none of the 6 billion other people in the world who do not have a vote could be allowed--nor hold the right-- to criticize, question, or belittle my status as a BBWAA member.

If President Barack Obama decides tomorrow that he wants to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to all Americans, he is right in doing so because he has been placed in that position and all decisions he makes are absent of error.

Makes sense.

That’s the real problem self-proclaimed experts have. They want to be the ones voting, but they don’t have that privilege. It’s their own fault. They chose the wrong profession. Accountants, lawyers, doctors, teachers and salesmen don’t get to vote for the Hall of Fame. Baseball writers do.

I don't think it's so much that they/we want to be the ones voting, it's just that they/we would like it if those incredibly intelligent, righteous, god-like experts already put in the prestigious position of power took more than three hours before the deadline to think about their decision. Is that really too much to ask? They/we don't think so.

When I started out in life, I wanted to be a baseball writer, not so that I could vote for the Hall of Fame. I didn’t know anything about voting then, but it is something that came with the territory.

Awesome. I hope you know that by writing this article you have made it impossible for yourself to ever bitch about any other profession ever again. All of us "self-proclaimed experts" are gonna be on the lookout for when you slip up. Consider yourself warned, sir.

Actually, I don’t believe baseball writers should be voting for the Hall of Fame, though I don’t know of a more qualified group, which is why the Hall maintains its association with the Baseball Writers Association.

You didn't trick anybody here, Chassy. You basically just said that you think baseball writers absolutely should be voting for the Hall of Fame because they are superior beings, and hence the most qualified.

"I don't believe that Albert Pujols should have won the NL MVP last year, though I don't know a more qualified player, which is undoubtedly why he won."

Most of the Hall arguments today seem to be statistics-centered. I get the idea that the stats zealots would draw up charts based on their new-fangled numbers and decide on the basis of the numbers who should be in the Hall of Fame. No thinking necessary.

Dare to dream, right? I have a feeling that you'll do your best to see that such dreams never come to fruition though. I'm curious, what are people supposed to be looking at in terms of qualification for induction? Dominance? Intimidation? How greatly they "stood out among the rest"? None of these things can be accurately determined without the use of statistics, whether you're using Chassy-endorsed stats such as Wins, Losses, and ERA, or more valuable and current statistics such as FIP, WAR, and VORP.

The point is if nobody ever looked at stats the Hall of Fame would be full of guys like Juan Pierre and Bo Jackson... and Derek Jeter would be considered the best defensive shorstop of all time.

Blyleven’s statistics have endeared him to the stats zealots. One of their big numbers is his strikeouts. He had a lot of them, 3,701. Tommy John, who otherwise had similar career statistics to Blyleven’s, struck out 2,245.

Not really sure why Tommy John is all of the sudden thrown into the mix. But okay, I'll play along. Bert Blyleven has the 13th highest Career WAR among pitchers all time (Baseball Projection). He's ahead of pitchers such as Christy Mathewson, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, and Steve Carlton. Yes, he had 3,701 career strikeouts (5th all time). He also finished in the top seven in K/9 fourteen times, had 60 career shutouts (9th all time), and put up an awesome 3.19 career FIP. That FIP is better than Greg Maddux, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Dennis Eckersley, Jim Palmer, and a few thousand other current and former MLB pitchers.

Tommy John is 43rd all time in WAR (Jack Morris was 139th, just fyi) and had a 3.38 career FIP (Morris had a 3.94 career FIP... maybe your argument should have been for him instead of Morris. Granted, Blyleven is still significantly better, but it'd had been less embarrassing for an esteemed, heavenly sportswriter such as yourself to make an argument for John rather than for a player who--had he not pitched one great world series game in 1991--you would not be endorsing so damn persistently).

I think strikeouts get far too much attention and emphasis.

Other than inducing a double-play groundball, there's almost nothing more beneficial for a pitcher and his team. Striking a hitter out reduces the chances of the other team scoring during that at bat by quite a large margin. Let's face it, strikeouts are sexy.

Strikeouts are sexy.

You're sexy.

John, however, was a sinkerball pitcher and got more outs on batted balls and fared just as well as Blyleven. John had a career 288-231 record with a 3.34 earned run average. Blyleven’s record was 287-250 and his e.r.a. 3.31. John retired 57 percent of the batters he faced, Blyleven, with all his strikeouts, 59 percent. Yet in the eyes of the stats zealots, the voters were justified for not electing John but not for rejecting Blyleven.

Do they teach math at the University of Pittsburgh? Hold on, let me check... Interesting. Turns out they do. Yet somehow Mr. Murray here managed to calculate something as simple as Opponents On-Base Percentage COMPLETELY WRONG. If John and Blyleven retired 57 and 59 percent of the batters they faced, then their respective OPP OBP totals would be approximately .430 and .410. That is bad. Perhaps Chass should have spent less time sipping a cola beverage by the jukebox in the diner and more time in the classroom!


The arguments will go on incessantly, and the conclusions will be I’m right, you’re wrong. Or is it you’re right, I’m wrong?

The latter...... jackass.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ranking the Basements

I found this neat piece via Baseball Think Factory's Newsstand describing the basements of well-known* saberfriendly bloggers. Check it out with a sample about the formerly flanneled one:
Every piece of furniture in Rob Neyer's well apportioned man cave is woven entirely out of flannel, except the 12-foot tall ice sculpture entitled "Lord James in Repose", which is carved from the frozen tears of pure, unrequited love.

*The only one I had not heard of, Hjort, does have a pretty nice blog. His newest post about the Braves's outfield situation is a great read: Outfield Platoon Matrix

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Return to Arms

That's right. I am back for more and what a better way to restart than to go with one of our old reliables, Bill Plaschke. It's an article outlining how important it is that the Saints win. Since this is coming after the Saints's Super Bowl victory (Congrats to them), I cannot do any playful teasing of him not getting his wish. Even so, it's a Plaschke piece so there's certainly something to say about it. From the LA Times website:
One helmet is an ancient symbol of rebirth, an eternal emblem of hope.

The other helmet is footwear for a horse.

America needs the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl.

One team's history can be found in a museum featuring paper bags once worn by embarrassed fans and tear-stained tissues used by happily weeping fans.

The other team's history can be found in a Mayflower moving truck.

America needs the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl.

Here are three of Plaschke's staples: phrase repetition, multiple contrasts and failure to embrace multiple sentence paragraphs. Now, I am not opposed to people who want to have a single sentence or two stand out for emphasis but for nearly every sentence? For the person who suggested that this is a good idea, shame on you. Then again, the joke might well be on me for picking at this.

Nah, it's on Plaschke. ;)
There is no cheering in the press box, but that rule doesn't apply to the sports section, and so allow me a few moments today to lead America in a chant that nobody really understands for a team that has absolutely no chance in a place that has taken them more than four decades to find.

I may not be the award-winning writer that you are, but I am pretty sure the "no cheering" maxim would apply to the sports section as well. Maybe that's why there are blogs like this because you think it's OK to cheer in the box! If you want to do that on a blog, go right ahead.
Who Dat Say Dey Gonna Beat Dem Saints?

Honestly, I would pay to see him say that. If you are reading this, Mr. Plaschke, I dare you to say this three times on "Around the Horn".
But I'm rooting like crazy for the other guys because America has rarely needed a sports champion the way it needs the Saints.

That they won is a very nice story and I am happy for those fans who have been behind them for many years. Seeing a city win it's first major pro title and particularly one like New Orleans is quite neat. Having said that, the hyperbole is so strong from him.
As our country lurches and heaves through the ankle-deep sand of its economic recovery, it has not helped the national psyche that every time we turn to our national pastimes for assurances that the little guy can still survive, we run smack into Goliath.


And now Peyton Manning is getting ready to win another Super Bowl?

No thanks. Not now. Please. America needs to believe in the impossible again. America needs another dose of revival.


That cannot be allowed to happen, because perhaps no underdog in Super Bowl history has entered the game as so memorably.

Slow down, man. We are happy for them. Let's not suddenly think this would have been a tragedy for the nation had the Colts won.
The Colts owner, Jim Irsay, is a former bodybuilder still living down the reputation of his late father, Bob, who moved the team to Indianapolis from Baltimore in the middle of the night in 1984.

The Saints owner, Tom Benson, 82, is a round and rollicking man who still celebrates some wins by pulling out an umbrella and prancing along the sidelines as if leading a Mardi Gras parade.

You do realize that if not for this guy among others, that umbrella likely would be strutting elsewhere. Perhaps he would have borrowed a spare Mayflower truck?
Two weeks of hyperbole whittled into two words of meaning.

Go Saints.

Oh now you have realized your ways? Wonderful. You got your wish.

Be happy.