Friday, December 12, 2008

Back in my day, we had to walk 8 miles in the snow for a loaf of bread!

I'm not sure how many more of these "CC and the Yankees are evil-- don't they know we are in a recession!" articles I can take. This one, by Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, I like because it includes the classic yelling-at-kids-on-his-lawn tone, along with the irony that his beloved Red Sox are currently the front-runners to sign Mark Teixiera (who's seeking a $200 million contract).

The year was 1966.

[You know how the rest of this argument goes. Oh, the good ol' days when life was so much better because I could buy a ticket to a Celtics game for $3. Now, I was not alive in 1966, but I hardly think that I needed to be in order to confidently say that the "life was better back in the day" argument is wrong, and borders on insulting.

You know what else was happening in 1966? Race riots in San Fran, New York, Oakland, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, etc. The poll tax had just been suspended. Laws banning interracial marriage had yet to be ruled unconstitutional. The Civil Rights Act was still two years from being signed into law. The first marital rape law was still TEN years away. Etc. Etc.

But yeah, being able to take in a Sox game with a dog and a beer for $5 balances things out.]

Yes, CC Sabathia is, by all accounts, a nice person and a worthy recipient of good fortune, but that much good fortune, and now? Do we have a right to be angry or repulsed?

[Here's the one thing people don't seem to bring up in these "professional athletes are evil greed-mongers" arguments. The people who own most of these professional sports franchises are the uber-wealthy. According to Forbes, the New York Yankees are worth $1.3 BILLION. Sportswriters and critics hardly ever seem to have a problem with the old white guys that own these teams amassing millions or even billions of dollars. But a kid who throws a ball for a living?? That's an atrocity!]

But the big southpaw is represented by the ham-handed Scott Boras, whose blind fidelity to his baseball clients sometimes leads him to make indefensibly arrogant and infuriating statements. Get back to me if you can unearth any Boras comment this week acknowledging the frightening economic times we live in. All he ever talks about is how much revenue there is in baseball and how deserving his clients are. He doesn't understand that sometimes we don't need to hear that.

[Here's another one you hear a lot. I'm not really sure why people expect Boras to do or say things that would actively make him bad at his job. He works for his CLIENTS. Not some dude in Southie who is wicked pissed about the economy.]

I'm not sure this will affect your opinion of CC Sabathia's $161 million, but I thought it was a good opportunity to vent.

[Professional Journalism: A "good opportunity to vent."]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CC Pity Party

Here's a melodramatic piece by Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. Life is SO unfair!

If you didn't like the CC Sabathia era in Milwaukee, you must not own a snowmobile or have ever taken a date to the Mars Cheese Castle.


For the rest of us, right thinkers all, it was a beautiful period in baseball history, a time-stands-still interlude when David stood on even footing with Goliath. But now back to regular programming

[Boo hoo hoo.]

While Sabathia was happy in Milwaukee, going 11-2 in 17 starts, how could he tell future generations of tall, heavy-set Sabathias that grandpa had left $50 million or more on the table to stay in Wisconsin? He's just a man, after all, and all men can be money-whipped.

[I know! What an idiot! Taking an extra $50 million. Seriously, who would do that? In a related story, Phil Rogers took a 50% pay cut to write this article.

Also, "going 11-2 in 17 starts" has very little to do with "Sabathia was happy in Milwaukee." But let's just assume that he was because he pitched well. Well, that and his proximity to the Mars Cheese Castle.]

How Many Tebow-for-Heisman Articles can David Whitley Possibly Write?

Seriously. We get it already, Whitley.

After some bizarre O.J. Simpson jokes, Whitley offers new and inspiring arguments.

The case for Tebow doesn't come down to big numbers.... The stats weren't quite as ridiculous this year but he played better. At least he did if you count things like leadership, determination and honor.

[This seems like an appropriate place to point out the fallacy that Tebow is attempting to become only the second player to ever win two Heismans. The reality is that Tebow would be the THIRD man to do so. Everyone always forgets that Mohandas Gandhi won back-to-back Heismans in 1889 and 1890. Dude had UNREAL determination and honor numbers in those seasons.]

If you don't believe it, see what happens when this one's gone.

[The "Marty McFly" argument. Always a winner. Tebow should win the Heisman THIS season because I can only imagine that Florida will suck NEXT season if Tebow is gone. QED.]

If voters have Tebow Fatigue, they should remember the Heisman tiebreaker. If it's close, give it to the candidate who spent spring break performing circumcisions on indigent Filipino youth.

[OK, we're done here.]

Hall of Kinda-Fame

After relatively few Theorem-worthy articles to start the week, I was sent and/or stumbled upon an inordinate number of winners this morning. I'll try to quickly touch on a few in the next hour or so.

The first is Dan Shaughnessy's iron-clad persuasive piece in favor of electing Jim Rice to the Hall of Fame. The arguments for (Rice's magical ability to strike "fear" into the hearts of pitchers) and against (Rice wasn't good enough) are well-documented, but Shaughnessy provides a nice overview.

Rice has never been a certified Cooperstown lock. That's why he's fallen short.

[Not sure what a "certified" Cooperstown lock is, but I am pretty sure that there are LOTS of performance-related reasons why Rice has fallen short, right?]

It's because his window of greatness was a tad short, he failed to hit 400 homers, his numbers are inflated by playing half his games in Fenway, he was a corner outfielder with little speed or range, and he didn't do much in his few postseason opportunities.

[Exactly. Seems pretty obvious that Rice does not belong in the Hall.]

But he belongs in the Hall.

[Ugh. Need we even read the subsequent sentences?]

He could hit for average....

[.298 career BA. Wake me when I'm supposed to get excited.]

[H]e could hit for power....

[Didn't we just establish that he failed to hit 400 HRs?]

Twenty other players have gathered between 70 and 75 percent of the vote and every one of them ultimately made it to Cooperstown.

[This is my favorite argument, by far. Comparing Rice to other players-- only, not based on their baseball merits, but on how they fared in Hall elections (ignoring the fact that those players may have played different positions, been far more qualified than Rice, etc. Any closing points?]

Rice was dominant. Rice was feared.

[Check. And. Mate.]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Peter King: Vol. 9

A decent week for Pete until the final e-mail of his Tuesday mail-bag.

From Joey, of Santiago, Chile: "Do you hear much talk around the league about a possible link between the resurgence of Ray Lewis and performance-enhancing drugs? I don't mean to gossip, but it seems like a few years ago people were talking about how Lewis had lost a step, and now the talk is all about how he's back and his incredible staying power over the years I suppose part of my suspicion has to do with what seems to me to be the quite low incidence of discovery of performance-enhancing drugs in the NFL more generally...."

[Pete has been HEAVING praise at Lewis all year so I expected a "Hey, he hasn't tested positive for anything as far as any of us know, so I can only assume he is clean" response, and that would have been the end of the exchange. But...]

I have been around Ray Lewis a lot over the past few years. Say what you want about Lewis. I know a lot of people don't like him, either because of the murder case in Atlanta or because they think he's too much of a showman on the field before and during the game. Here's what I know: He respects the game.

[Between the juxtaposition of "too much of a showman on the field" and "He respects the game," and how the PED accusation somehow feels like a more serious charge than "possible involvement in a murder," this is a great retort. And is it such a stretch to think that someone who is willing to plead guilty to obstruction of justice to avoid murder and aggravated assault charges would take PEDs to be good at football for an extra season or two? I'm not saying he is taking PEDs, but to dismiss a checkered history of decision-making simply because the guy goes all-out in training camp doesn't seem to carry water. Just say that there is no evidence that points to his guilt (in this instance!) and move on.]

Monday, December 8, 2008

Let the BCS Absurdity Begin!

With the BCS title game only (approximately) 87 days away, David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel is excited and perfectly lucid!

The early prediction: Florida 107, Oklahoma 94.

[Now's there's a scenario that would get me to actually watch the game.]

These two teams don't like each other.

[Long, bitter rivalry? Hard-fought battles in recent seasons?]

Actually, they hardly know each other. Florida and Oklahoma have never played.

[In a related story, every time that David Whitley bumps into a total stranger on the street, he punches them in the neck.]

So is Oklahoma's offense that good, or are Big 12 defenses that bad? Yes.

[Yes??? What the hell, man? It was an "or" question. And neither of the options on either side of the "or" were "Yes." Solid analysis.]