Thursday, January 8, 2009

Miiiiiiichael Kay, Is On The Radio Today

I keep a car on the Upper West Side, and since I don't have $600 a month to squander on a parking spot, I have to park it on the street. Since I work typical hours (how I miss you, online poker), I have to move the car 4 days a week to dodge street cleaning, three of those being after work. It's worth it for me because it allows me to pop out to Jersey and play some golf when the weather is nice, and makes weekend trips a whole lot more convenient. Sometimes, however, it takes forever to get a spot and it's really annoying.

Occasionally, when my iPod FM transmitter decides not to work, I'll throw on the radio and listen to The Michael Kay Show. For those outside of the New York market, or without an interest for ESPN radio, Mr. Kay has a four hour (yes, FOUR hour) radio show on 1050AM from 3-7pm on weekdays. I don't really mind him as the Yankees play by play guy, and during the baseball season his radio show is good to listen to if you are a Yankee fan.

Well today (not during the baseball season), I was about an hour into my quest for a parking spot when my FM transmitter went AWOL, and I flipped on 1050 just in time to hear Michael start talking about the Brewers' acquisition of Trevor Hoffman. I'm going to do my best to paraphrase what he said. Being that this was about an hour ago, and I may have temporarily blacked out from rage, it may not be completely accurate. But here is the gist it:

"What are the Brewers thinking signing Trevor Hoffman? This guy…
Actually, pop quiz! Is Michael going to say:

  1. Is not a good pitcher anymore
  2. Is going to be 41 this year
  3. Can't throw his fastball over 85mph, thereby negating the value of his out pitch, the change up
  4. Is not worth $6M plus $1.5M in incentives at this point in his career

Well if you said any of those things, you are wrong, because he said…

"The guy is not a clutch pitcher. He's blown every big game he's been in [lists off several postseason games, most against the Yankees, and the 2006 All-Star game]. I mean, he played for the Padres, so he's a guy that can get you saves in the regular season when there isn't really any pressure on him. But if there is anything on the line, the guy is terrible."
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? There are so many valid reasons to criticize this signing, why do you have to fall back on clutchiferousness? In addition to the multiple choices I listed above, here are a few other reasons that I looked up after I stopped yelling at the car radio, finally found a parking spot and got back to my apartment.

  • Over the last three years he has pitched successively fewer innings to an increasingly high ERA
  • Is averaging less than one IP per appearance for each of the last six years
  • Allowed his highest HR/9IP since his 3rd year in the league (which was 1995)
And also, you know what team probably isn't going to have too many meaningful, pressure packed games this regular season? The Milwaukee Brewers. So maybe it makes sense after all.

Ronaldo is a Good Driver (FIRST SOCCER POST!!!!!!)

I got this from ur friends over at What Would Tyler Durden Do and all I have to say is holy shit. (WWTDD is a celebrity blog, which normally I wouldn't approve of, but it is funny as shit and is always good for some nice pictures.)

Cristiano Ronaldo, of Manchester United, done fucked his Ferrari up this morning, walked away unharmed, and practiced later that day.

WHEEEEE-LI!


(hat tip to Sampson who sent the pic in an email with a very similar title)

Recent MLB Signings - Progress Report

I've never really understood sports columnist's analyzing drafts and other offseason transactions, and then titling their article as a "Report Card". These articles are to analyze the moves that were made and how they MAY play out for the upcoming season. Listen, my teachers didn't take a look at one month of transcending haiku and flawless geometric proofs - and then just slap an A+ on my report card. Mrs. Osborne and Mr. Savicki instead gave me a progress report to take home to Ted and Dee - assigned a letter grade and some standard comments they select with a scantron. Once the semester was over, then I received my final grade on a report card. Why sports columns aren't handled the same way is beyond me.

Thus, in light of recent MLB signings, and as an ode to teachers of Middleboro High that turned me into the unattentive, slacker at work that I am, I present to you a progress report for the past few days...
----
John Smoltz (SP) - Boston Red Sox
Grade: B+
Comments: Participates in class. Leader in the classroom.
The Fenway Faithful are going to love this guy. A universally well liked guy, an arm that's defied age, and a lock for the Hall. Now do I think he's going to lead us to a World Series after having surgery on his torn labrum? No. Could he be extremely effective and net us 13 wins this year? Absolutely. The big name signing also will keep the grumbling down after the Yankees' spree. [Ed note: Tiger Woods has said John Smotlz is the best non-professional golfer he has ever played with. Respect]

Rocco Baldelli (OF) - Boston Red Sox
Grade: B
Comments: Demonstrates good effort.
Along with Smoltz, the Rhode Island native Baldelli is going arrive to a warm welcome in Boston. Baldelli has been the next big thing for years now, but sadly his "fatigue" disease is certainly going to limit him from ever becoming the next Dimaggio as many had tagged him as. That said, the Sox are signing him as their 4th OF - and if you're going to take a flier on anyone for this position - Baldelli's the guy. The Sox always do their homework when it comes to medical, so you gotta believe that Rocco is in a position to provide a valuable impact to this team.

Jason Giambi (1B/DH) - Oakland Athletics
Grade: C+
Comments: Is disruptive in class.
You already know how I feel about the Great Giambino. The guy is a big, obnoxious dope. But he is returning to his original team - so there is at least a slim hope he may settle in just fine. Giambi is certainly still a home run threat, and provides Matt Holliday some protection. Talent wise, certainly an upgrade that anything the A's were touting. Still, I can't help but predict that he'll play only 60 games this year. One of the following is a guaranteed lock:
- Failed drug test
- Injury
- Internet photo scandal featuring the Angel's Rally Monkey, Mrs. Buttersworth, and and a Bop-It

Trevor Hoffman (CL) - Milwaukee Brewers
Grade: C
Comments: Lacks attentiveness.
Jay: damn, the brewers love them some washed up closers
'Nuff said

Koji Uehara (SP) - Baltimore Orioles
Grade: Incomplete
Comments: Has not shown up for class in over 10 years
I don't know a thing about this guy and nearly every pitcher that's come off the boat has excelled over here. What I do know is that Baltimore makes the worst signings in baseball - so I can only assume that he is going to have a statline of 4-12, 221 innings, 6.87 ERA.

Porn Bailout? Amen! [Non-Sports]

This story probably would rank right after the New York Liberty in sports relevancy, and I definitely am not one to get too heavy into Capitol Hill matters - but this was just too good to pass up. Part comedic genius, part political statement. [Ed. note: Part extremely successful publicity stunt]

BCS Title Game Preview and Predictions

Tonight's championship game features Oklahoma and Florida, two explosive teams with two of the best (and douchiest) QBs in college football. Lets break it down.

Oklahoma
The story behind Oklahoma is their offense, which is fucking unreal. They have scored over 50 points in 9 of 13 games, scored over 60 points in their last 5 games, are averaging 54 points a game, and are the only team to score over 700 points in a season.

Like any good offense this starts with their offensive line which features All-American Duke Robinson. This line has allowed only 11 sacks all season and is a major reason why Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy.

Bradford will need to be on point tonight, but he commands a small army of receivers all capable of making a big play which should help his cause. According to ESPN, ten receivers caught a touchdown and eight made at least five third-down catches. That is pretty good, but when you are destroying teams by 50 points these stats could be loaded.

Watch out for 1000-yd rusher Chris Brown. Florida has a tough defense that will be all over these receivers and a D-line that is capable of getting to Bradford, even with their great O-line. Brown has the speed needed to move the ball against Florida's defense and the Sooners will need him to come up big.

Florida
The bottom line with Florida in this game is their defense and their overall speed. Their fucking place holder runs a 4.2 40yd dash (not confirmed.)

Tebow gets a lot of credit for this teams success (rightfully so), but it downplays what their defense brings to the table. It is easy to win when you only give up over 20 points 3 times (2 of games being to #1 Alabama and #4 LSU) and give up an average of 13 points per game.

They have hard hitting LBs (Brandon Spikes) and a secondary that will make any receiver coming across the middle pay (Note: Florida's safety is named Major Wright. Who the fuck names their kid Major?) If their D-line can get to Bradford to rattle him up a little bit, they should be in good shape.

Game Prediction
Ultimately, I think that Oklahoma will have trouble moving the ball against Florida's defense and I suspect Tebow's offense will do pretty much whatever they want against this the Sooner D.

Florida 35
Oklahoma 27

Drinking Prediction
The over/under on tonight's beer consumption while watching this game is 13. I have been a little sick lately so I haven't drank since last Friday, so I am going to take the over.

Check back tomorrow for my follow-up posting about how 98% of what I just wrote didn't happen and how completely wrong I was!!!

The Anxiety Of Influence

The Anxiety of Influence is a theory first put forth by literary critic Harold Bloom. He contended that all poets are inspired to write by existing poets and therefore their work is weaker because it's derivative of what came before. In order to free themselves from the shadow of older works, the strongest younger poets must form their own distinct style using one of six "Revisionary Ratios". Coaching an NFL team, like writing poetry, demands uniqueness in exchange for success. To succeed, a coach, much like a poet, must expand on the styles of those he worked under, not just imitate them.

In the book, Bloom proposes a sort of "poet tree" starting with Shakespeare who begat Milton who begat Keats and so on. In the NFL the coaching tree is even more direct, with the apprentice having actually studied under the master. In this case, Shakespeare would be Bill Parcells (It would be nice to trace it all the way back to Vince Lombardi, but Parcells only coached under Ray Perkins). His coaching tree is wide, with former assistants Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, Sean Payton, Ray Hanley, and Tony Sparano advancing to be head coaches in the NFL.

Belichick, being the strongest coach to descend from Parcells' tree, has become so strong that including college coaches, his tree is already wider than Parcells'. Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Kirk Ferentz, Nick Saban, Pat Hill, Al Groh and Charlie Weiss have all leveraged their success under Belichick into head coaching jobs.

The two pupils that landed NFL jobs certainly have not enjoyed the success expected of them after leaving the Patriots. In four years with the Browns, Romeo Crennel had a 24-40 record while Eric Mangini (23-25) was just fired by the Jets with a year left on his contract. Coincidentally, the Jets, who went from 4-12 last year to 9-7 this year fired Mangini, who has now replaced Crennel with the Browns, who went from 10-6 to 4-12, at a job that Belichick was once fired from.

Not to say that Crennel is a stronger coach, but I think Mangini is still most plagued by the Anxiety of Influence, having an almost father-son like dynamic with Belichick. There were the icy, standoffish handshakes, the SpyGate tattling, and now son is following in father's footsteps to the one job he couldn't conquer.

This concept obviously applies to writing as well. I'm not the first person to use this concept in reference to sports. I believe that would be Max Kellerman, who occasionally casts Jordan as Shakespeare on his radio show on 1050ESPN, New York. He purports that Kobe suffers from the Anxiety of Influence while LeBron has been more successful in cutting his own path by distributing the ball and involving his teammates more than Jordan ever did. Kobe wears #24, as if to signify that he is the next Jordan, while LeBron wears #23 as a tribute, but has a much different playing style than him.

The stuff I write for this blog is undoubtedly influenced by the sports bloggers, writers and analysts I read and listen to. My pieces on collusion were inspired to some extent by Shysterball. I've explicitly paid homage to FJM. The post I wrote yesterday about the Eagles (and the name of this blog, for fuck's sake) have Big Daddy Drew's fingerprints all over them. I would not have come up with the idea for this post if I didn't listen to Kellerman at work basically every day.

Part of this phenomenon that Bloom fails to mention is that by virtue of being early to the medium, those guys had more room for original thought. They were frontiersman, staking their claims and finding their niches. Unlike the finite amount of land on the frontier though, the news cycle always churns up more material. It's the specific angles (like Awful Announcing or Shysterball) and conventions (like FJM, Leitch's "royal we" or the character sketches on KSK) that get taken up, sort of like styles of poetry. The problem with both is that, the later you are to the party, the more you have to tip toe around styles and voices that have already been established.

Will Mangini be successful with the Browns? That depends if he can step out of Belichick's shadow and establish his own coaching style that takes some of the core components of his sensei, and add some unique wrinkles of his own. Being fired by the Jets and the resulting fresh start with the Browns should give him the chance to start anew.

Pacman or Vick?

With Pacman released--Who gets picked up by an NFL team first?

Mike "Don't Call Me Michael" Vick

OR

Adam "Don't Call Me 'Pacman'" Jones?

For sure, the prime candidate for any team to pick up any of these two is the Oakland Raiders.

Vick

Vick gets out of prison in January and is expected to go to a halfway house. Perhaps he will be ready by Training Camp.

Vick is a horrible QB but would be extremely useful in the Wildcat. But he carries a much worse stigma than Pacman.

Detroit could also use him. In my opinion, there is not much a risk of Vick in Detroit. Detroit is even more of a ghetto city than Atlanta. I also don't see how Detroit can be against giving somebody a second chance when the fate of their entire city may rest on the federal "bailout" money given to the Big 3 Auto companies. Detroit is coming off a winless season, the first ever 0-16 season and will be looking to win games. Vick can win at least 1 game by himself. That will be of more importance to Lions fans than any stigma associated with Vick.

Pacman

Pacman is a short cornerback. His hyped punt return prowess was non-existent last year. Unlike Vick, he has lingering alcohol and legal problems.

Jerry Gives Up on Pacman

The days of Pacman dawning a star on his helmet are over, as the Cowboys have ended their one year relationship with the NFL's most notorious star. Somewhere on the outskirts of Dallas, Candy Legs is being consoled by her pimp, Delicious Rob.

As a football fan who really has no bias in the NFC East, seriously what the deuce was Jerry Jones thinking when they signed this guy. Sure - if any team is going to handle a tumultuous star, it'd be the team that put up with Charles Haley and Michael Irvin. But Pacman, excuse me, Adam, isn't known for yanking on his big black monster cock or holding on to his brother's crack pipe. Adam has a rap sheet a mile long, and has had so much LEGAL trouble in the past three years that I don't even have to post a link, because even my Grandmother knows to stay away from him. The guy can't be reformed - especially not by My Buddy Wade Phillips. If Jeff Fisher, probably the coach I respect the most not named Belichick, couldn't make it work for this guy - how in the world was Wade going to?