Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fack Youk [Year In Review]

Gentlemen, we should be proud of ourselves (semi-dramatic pause) because it's been a great year (week). We increased our readership 1000% (from 1 to 10), although I don't have Google Analytics set up yet, so I might be overstating that. Over that same time period, we were acknowledged by some, ignored by others, and went unnoticed by basically the rest of the world. Fear not, friends, at the rate we're going, this time next year we will have attracted approximately 100 readers, roughly 107 pageviews and possibly one member of the opposite sex.

A special thanks to our reader(s). This blog wouldn't be the same without you. (Actually, it would).

In any event, before we actually develop a readership, I thought I would post a letter from my company, sent out just before Christmas, with my FJM-style comments in blue. Happy New Years.

To All Employees:

The partners would like to thank you for helping [Company Name Withheld Just In Case] achieve one of its best years ever in 2008.
[Great! So this means we are going to get some of our best bonuses ever, right?]

We recognize that this achievement has required a strong commitment throughout the company as well as many long days (and we know some long nights).
[You bet. Well, it's a good thing we are going to be handsomely rewarded with some of our BEST BONUSES EVER!]

Recent economic news has given us a clear signal that we will face much tougher times in the coming year.
[Well that's nice, but we've been in a recession for quite a while and we just had one of our best years EVAR!!!!1!!!!]

I'm sure all of you know or have heard of someone who has been laid off or of companies making other drastic spending cuts.
[Yes, they work for financial companies who had their WORST years ever. Sucks for them.]

Due to this reality, we have decided to cut and in some cases eliminate bonuses for the end of this year.
[Oh. Let me see if I follow here... Due to the reality facing other companies who had their worst years ever, we (a company who had one of their best years ever) are going to cut bonuses. Yes?]

This decision was very difficult because of the contribution you have made to the success of the company.
[Doesn't sound like it was that difficult. Words I would have chosen before "difficult", in no particular order: inexplicable, profitable, greedy, inconsiderate...]

We feel, however, that it is extremely important during these uncertain times to maintain flexibility in the business so we are not forced to make much worse cuts in 2009.
[So, not only was this a great year for the company, we are moving to Jersey and thereby cutting costs, but we still need to cut down on bonuses? How about we wait until we actually have a bad year you cut the bonuses? So if we have a good 2009, do we get the money that you took out of our bonuses back?]

We are doing everything we can to make the company more competitive, more efficient, and more enjoyable to work at.
[Except giving you guys bonuses.]

With your help and commitment we expect to be one of the companies that make it through these difficult times.
[DIFFICULT TIMES FOR WHO? Surely not a company who just had "one of its [fucking] best [fucking] years [fucking] ever in [fucking] 2008"]

Thank you for your understanding.
[I don't understand]

We truly appreciate your efforts.
[Just not enough to give you bonuses]

The Partners

[You probably shouldn't have started the email where you tell everyone that their bonuses are being cut with the sentence "The partners would like to thank you for helping [Our Company] achieve one of its best years ever in 2008."]

Collusion or Delusion? [Follow Up]

In doing some more research on the topic of my previous post, I came across this article by Tim Marchman published in the National Review, back in December of 2003. He (not surprisingly) goes into more depth about the history of collusion in MLB than I did, and adds that joint holdouts were another big reason for the inclusion of the anti-collusion language in the CBA. He also says:
It was for violating this deal in the 1980s that owners agreed in the early 1990s to pay the players $280 million, a payment which drove expansion as owners sought to recoup the money by charging huge fees for the rights to new teams. Sandy Koufax decides he'd like to get paid something like what he's worth, and 40 years later you get to watch the Florida Marlins cavorting around in teal uniforms; what better illustration of the law of unintended consequences?
See what you can learn on these here Internets? The impetus of his post were "the ominous shadows of collusion falling across this weekend's winter meetings in New Orleans [in 2003]". These "shadows" stemmed from the exploitation of a seeming loophole the owners found in the CBA. At the time, the MLBPA was considering filing a grievance alleging that the owners were flooding the markets with free agents, according to Marc Edleman.

In his 2005 paper "Has Collusion Returned To Baseball?" Edleman details how, following the 2002 World Series, many teams began to talk about shedding payroll. Then, on Dec 20th, clubs simultaneously non-tendered 46 arbitration eligible players including Pudge Rodirguez and other top level talent, thereby devaluing the price of all free agents (Edleman gives specific examples if you have time to read the essay). This also redefined that year's "fair-market value" and adversely affected outcomes of the hearings of the players who accepted arbitration.

Edleman says, "Federal antitrust law finds that an agreement to effect price exists even when there is a tacit or inferred agreement", and cites two cases involving American Tobacco and Monsanto (Sidenote: watch The Corporation) as indicators that the arbitrator may rule against the owners. He concludes:

When considering both the documented series of events that occurred during baseball’s 2002–03 off-season and their economic effects, it seems plausible that a baseball grievance arbitrator may find that Major League Baseball clubs once again violated baseball’s “collusion clause”.

This was of course written before the decision was handed down, and he was right to take an somewhat ambiguous stance.

Marchman's take was different, essentially dismissing the charges of collusion (also before any ruling had been handed down). He proposes a hypothetical situation in which two GMs are talking about each others arbitration cases and who they will or will not non-tender that year. He deduces that similar scenarios were probably unfolding at the time in team offices throughout the league, one at a time, but was likely not in violation of the CBA.

The owners did have to pay, but only $12M, and with no admission of guilt.

In light of this, the circumstances I laid out yesterday seem pretty frivolous and almost certainly won't result in any judgment against the owners, considering they non-tendered 46 players on the same fucking day, and didn't have to admit any guilt.

I just really don't like the thinly veiled, tacit encouragement to scale back spending that Selig endorsed when he asked Volcker to address the owners and executives. Like I said in the previous post, maybe the owners would have come to that conclusion anyway. So why allow the appearance of impropriety? Perhaps Bud could have presented Volcker as a resource for the owners to contact individually if they had specific questions.

It just gives a lot of credence to the sentiment that since Selig was an owner, he is now a stooge for the owners. Baseball will be better off if their next commissioner has the betterment of the game in mind, instead of the interests of the owners alone.


(This story would have fit better about a week ago, but with the holidays and all, I am just getting to it now.)

This is all I have been hearing since the Yankees had their big 3 signings this year: "All that money for one player?", "Highest payroll in the league?" BLAH BLAH BLAH...go fuck yourself.

First, I would like to address to the two biggest groups of haters (Red Sox and Mets fans), then I will address the general haters.

Red Sox Fans: You are a bitter bunch of fucks. Your team has the second highest payroll and just because your fucktard owner wouldn't dish out a few extra million dollars for Tex you can't handle it. Then most of you do the obvious thing and try and say how much Tex is gonna blow this year. Which is quite logical because who would expect him to do well with the security of a long term contract, his proven record of offensive and defensive ability throughout his career, and the small fact that he will have the luxury of batting in front of ALEX-FUCKING-RODRIGUEZ. You will be lucky if Tex doesn't hit 135 HRs this year.

Mets Fans: You are just pathetic. You all get pissed because when you signed K-Rod, and everyone was on your team's dick for about 20 minutes until the Yanks signed CC and AJ. You are a second class team. DEAL WITH IT. Also, don't give me that shit about payroll, because you have the 3rd highest payroll in the league and the highest payroll in the NL. I think deep down you all know that no matter who you sign your team is still going to suck and not do shit when it matters.

General Haters: First of all, the people that say the Yankees are bad for baseball are retarded. I will bring you back to the mid to late 1990s. For those of you who remember, the 1994 World Series was canceled because of a players' strike. All that BS aside, the Yankees emerging from that, spending a shit load of cash and creating this dynasty that carried baseball out of that. I will also knowledge the McGuire/Sosa HRfest helped too, but the Yankees started that shit and carry it on to this day.

Look at teams like the Marlins, Pirates, etc. These teams have cheap owners who are only in this to make money; I won't get into all that but that is why their payroll is a fraction of the Yankees. This is also the reason why teams like this sell-out 4 games per year: Opening Day, and when the Yankees are in town. That is bad for them, how?

Now for the main point that inspired this whole piece. For all of you out there that hate how much the Yankees spend, I don't care. And guess what, neither do any other Yankee fans. We pay money to go see our team play and we expect management to do what it takes to put together the best team available for our fucking entertainment. If your owners/management are just too fucking cheap to do that, then that's your fucking problem.

And another thing, you don't hear us bitching when some Boston fag (Matt Damon/Ben Affleck) makes $25 Million to make some piece of shit movie that you assholes flock to like its the next coming of Christ. FUCK YOU ALL.

How Long Is Too Long?: The Cases of Mike Shanahan & Joe Torre

Sure, they don’t remind you of one another. Mike Shanahan, a gruff, standoffish, football coach and self-proclaimed offensive genius. Somebody I would hate to have in my family. Joe Torre a/k/a St. Joe, player’s manager, calm, green-tea drinking, all-around great guy—somebody you would be proud to have in your family.

Both finished the 1990s with championships in their respective leagues and were at the top. From there, both went downhill.

For Torre, who last won a World Series in 2000 against the Mets, his decline came with the aging/retirement of the ‘90s core—Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez, David Cone, El Duque to name a few. Most importantly, key cogs in the bullpen, such as Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson, Ramiro Mendoza, who in my opinion are why the Yankees won 4 out of 5 from 1996-2000, either left the team or became injured. As these important relievers left the Bronx, Torre’s bullpen management skills were exposed and overworked relievers kept the Yankees from winning #27. This despite having the highest payroll in MLB for the whole decade. Following the loss of their third straight ALDS in 2007, Torre, after 12 full seasons in the Bronx, was arguably forced out of the organization.

With his contract up, The Yankees offered Torre a one-year deal with a $5,000,000 base pay and $1,000,000 bonuses to be paid for each of three benchmarks the team reached: winning the ALDS; winning the ALCS; and winning the World Series. Also, if the Yankees made it to the World Series, Joe Torre would pick up an option for a new contract for the following year. The contract, despite the pay cut, would still have kept Torre as the highest paid manager in the game. Understandably, the Yankees saw these incentives necessary to instill a fire in Torre. They thought he was complacent, too much of a player’s manager and that he failed to push their talented stars to attain their optimal performance levels. Torre’s strong sense of pride saw this offer as a personal affront and he rejected the Yanks’ offer, leaving for sunny La La Land Dodgers.

Mike Shanahan was hired by the Broncos in 1995 to replace Puppet Extraordinaire Wade Phillips. Shanahan, who led the vaunted 49ers offense consisting of Steve Young, Jerry Rice, John Taylor and Ricky “I Won’t Bore You With a Hackneyed Chris Berman Nickname” Watters took over a pretty talented team in Denver led by NFL QB legend John Elway. Shanahan led Elway and the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in the 1997 and 1998 seasons, during which time the Broncos set a then-record for victories in two seasons. He was the last coach to win two consecutive titles until New England's Bill Belichick did it during the 2003 and 2004 NFL seasons. Between 1996-1998, the Broncos set the NFL record for victories by going 46–10 over a three-year span.

After their Super Bowl victory in 1998, Mike Shanahan only won 1 other playoff game again, due in part to the retirement of Elway and career-ending injury of Terrell Davis. Despite being able to make any running back a 1,000 yard rusher, including the aforementioned Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Reuben Droughns and Tatum Bell, Shanahan, director of player personnel, could never assemble a quality defense.

The past 3 seasons, defensive coordinators were fired due to their ineptitude. In these 3 seasons, the Broncos went 24-24 and failed to make the playoffs. In somewhat of a surprise, Shanahan was canned. He had only 2 losing seasons and finished his career as the Broncos all-time winning head coach with a record of 138-86 (.615). Presumably, Denver owner Pat Bowlen wanted Shanahan to give up control of player personnel so that somebody could come in and revamp the defense. Shanahan, a prideful man, probably refused and the two got into an argument resulting in his ouster.

12 and 14 years are way too long for a manager/coach to remain with the same team. After a while, things get stagnant and that drive to win it all disappears with past success, a fat contract and control over the roster. Sort of like that tenured professor who does not keep up with current management practices or current law, these coaches do not keep up with the evolution of the game.

In my opinion, 10 years should be the cutoff point, especially if there are no championships won in the past 5 years. John Wooden and Joe McCarthy are exceptions to this because they continuously won championships and the time of their last championship served as a "tolling period."

Below are examples of coaches who I believe should be relieved of their duties based on tenure and championship droughts. While the idea of firing some of these coaches may be preposterous, you need to remember that organizations are more than 1 individual.

Jeff Fisher, Head Coach Tennessee Titans—His career achievement is that he came within 1 yard of winning a Super Bowl. Will not be fired because of the current economy and Titans are a small market team.

Andy Reid, Head Coach Philadelphia Eagles—Lost 3 consecutive NFC championships and a Super Bowl. Too conservative and his sons legal troubles have distracted him. He may be relieved of his duties if Philly loses.

Bobby Bowden, Head Coach Florida State—Last national championship in 1999. 79 years old. No motivation for players, no discipline. Anybody could recruit for FSU and be a better game coach. Let Jimbo Fisher have his chance.

Joe Paterno, Head Coach Penn State Nittany Lions--Last national championship in 1986. Age 82. We love ya Joe Pa, but don’t you have grandchildren?

Recently Forced Out: Phillip Fulmer--Head Coach University of Tennessee Football. Last championship in 1998; Tom O'Brien--no championships in 10 years at Boston College (ousted in 2006.)

A Few More Years: Ron Gardenhire--Manager Minnesota Twins, Tom Izzo--BBall Coach Michigan State, Mike Krzyzewski--BBall Coach Duke, Charlie Weis--FB Coach Notre Dame, Al Skinner--BBall Coach Boston College

WBA Reviews Holyfield vs. Valuev Decision

I first saw this on the crawl during SportsCenter last night:
FightNews has learned that the WBA Championship Committee has ordered a panel of judges to review the contest between WBA heavyweight champion Nicolay Valuev and Evander Holyfield, for the WBA Heavyweight title, held December 20th in Switzerland. The source stated that the WBA is taking this action “Due to the respect for the opinion of the fans and the media.”
Since the fight was in Switzerland, it aired live in the afternoon two Saturdays ago. Partially out of boredom and partially out of morbid curiosity, I went on and watched the fight from the third round on and read along with Brain Armen Graham's live blog.

The fight was wildly boring, with Valuev basically sitting in the middle of the ring, not throwing any punches and Evander not doing a whole lot more, but significantly out-landing the giant. Graham (118-110) and every single other account of the fight I read agreed it was an obvious win for Holyfield, who came out of retirement because "God told him to unify the heavyweight belts". (Sidenote: watch Religulous)

Shockingly, the judges awarded the fight to the 7 foot ogre from Russia 114-114, 116-112, 115-114. Holyfield took the "defeat" graciously, probably more so than I would have. I don't know how often these things get reversed, but it would be nice to see Holyfield rewarded for getting into great shape at age 46 and getting the job done. And hopefully he never fights again.

Shanahan Out In Denver

After missing the playoffs on the last day of the season in embarrassing fashion, the Broncos have let go of Mike Shanahan. The Broncos launched their coach of 14 years and two Super Bowls into what is sure to be a turbulent offseason on the coaching carousel.

In firing a coach who will almost surely move onto another coaching vacancy, the Broncos haven't really weakened the talent pool, but are swimming in some fairly shallow waters. There are a few ex-head coaches available such as Cowher, Schottenheimer, Billick, along with the newly displaced coaches of this year, but all signs indicate that the number of coordinators turned head coaches will be at an all-time high next year.

Thanks for the memories, Spags. Good luck with your interviews.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Collusion or Delusion?

The word "collusion" gets thrown around a lot in baseball circles, most recently in reference to this gentleman, and shortly before that, this guy and as Joe said in the comments it's only a matter of time before it's said in conjunction with Manny. In all three cases, I would tend to take things at face value and conclude that these are 30 teams all acting rationally and coming to the same conclusions.

An interesting fact that I was unaware of: It was Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale who created the need for these regulations by demanding joint negotiations with the Dodgers prior to the 1966 season (Wikipedia). As a result of the leverage provided by these transparent negotiations, the two pitchers received the two largest contracts in baseball history at the time. The owners were obviously none too pleased, and wanted to ensure this was not allowed to happen again.

In 1968, when Marvin Miller negotiated the first Collective Bargaining Agreement, he ensured that the owners were not allowed to collude either. The final language in the CBA reads "Players shall not act in concert with other Players and Clubs shall not act in concert with other Clubs."

According to Roger I. Abrams in his book Legal Bases, the owners didn't see how this restriction could ever apply to them. They were wrong. In the age of free agency, players gained the upper hand and were now able to negotiate with all other teams, and the resulting competition drove salaries upward, theoretically.

In 1986, a year when only four free agents switched teams and free agent salaries declined by 16%, the Player's Association filed a grievance against the owners, claiming that they had been acting together so as not to bid for each others players. The arbitration process consisted of 32 days of hearings spread out over almost a year, and in the end Arbitrator Tom Roberts ruled in favor of the players. Again according to Legal Bases, the rationale was that:
"Reaching a formal agreement was only one of many ways for two or more parties to act in concert. Some 'common scheme or plan' would be sufficient to provide a violation of that parties' bargain."
Which makes me think back to this. Remember when Bud Selig had ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker speak to owners and executives of all 30 teams in November?
For roughly 45 minutes. According to several people who attended the meeting, Volcker discussed what led to the current economic plight and where things might be headed. His assessment was not upbeat, the attendees said.

At the end of his presentation, Volcker took several questions from owners and officials but did not specifically address how the economy could affect the 30 teams, big market and small, in the months to come.

Those who spoke about Volcker’s remarks did so on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be linked to the public discussion of a private meeting.
The off-season was already under way, but basically no free agent signings had occurred yet. On a certain level, you have to think that Selig knew that Volcker's assessment wasn't going to be "upbeat". They certainly must have spoken recently about the state of the economy before Selig asked him to address the owners.
Selig said he first broached the idea of having Volcker address the owners when he saw him at a World Series game last month.
You think they might have had some sort of a discussion about the economy when they ran into each other at the World Series? The World Series obviously took place in October, a month when the market posted triple digit fluctuations in 20 out of 23 days of trading. If Selig respected Volcker's opinion enough to have him address the franchise owners of his mega-billion dollar corporation, then he would surely have sought some expert insight in such turbulent financial times. Men of much smaller intellects and bank accounts were discussing the economy at that time. It was the most important and prevalent conversation echoing throughout the country and had been since the Lehman bankruptcy over a month before.

So what I'm getting at is... doesn't that sound like "acting in concert" or at least promoting or encouraging "a common scheme or plan"? Not surprisingly, neither Selig or Volcker have commented on the what was said during the 45 minute address. Even if Volcker didn't "specifically address how the economy could affect the 30 teams", doesn't this at least create the appearance of impropriety?

Maybe teams would have come to the same conclusions and almost universally ratcheted down spending (save for the Yankees, who have historically taken their own stance against the MLB). But if you were an executive or owner, wouldn't you be more reluctant to spend after hearing a pessimistic assessment of the economy from an ex-Federal Reserve Chairman who had "warned against the credit collapse for several years"?

Poetic Justice For Manny?

As the number of suitors for Manny diminishes, his decision to force his way out of Boston looks more and more foolish. With the Yankees, Angels and Mets most likely out of the bidding, the Red Sox certainly not in the discussion and wavering interest from the Dodgers and Nationals, who will drive up the price on the aging slugger?

The corner OF market is semi-saturated with guys like Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell. GMs of small or mid-market AL teams like the Blue Jays, Rays, and Mariners, with whom Manny would slot in nicely as DH, have been reluctant to spend, due to the state of the economy.

I thought this was just a media talking point, but it seems the way that Manny left Boston really has called into question his competitive ethic. Some think the media scrutiny and intense pressure of Boston got to him, while others question his desire to compete on a losing team for a full season. Unfortunately for Manny, the Nationals have the money to spend and a desperate need for a face to their franchise but fall into the later category.

Before the Yanks signed Teix I was rationalizing (and sort of hoping for) the decision to acquire Manny. However thanks to that $161M, I have now rid myself of that cognitive dissonance and am able to enjoy some schadenfreude and a hearty guffaw at MbM's expense.

I can't find a link, but I remember a local beat writer saying that the decision to opt out was supposedly inspired by A-Rod needling Manny at this year's All-Star game about how the last two years of his contract were team options and not player options. If this is true, it might be the single greatest thing A-Rod has done as a Yankee. So far, it has caused the Sox to eat a massive amount of salary and move players they would have rather kept. It has already resulted in the one guy who has done the Yankees the most harm in my lifetime to toil in free agent purgatory with an ever decreasing list of possible reprieves, and may ultimatley lead to him signing with a worse team for less money. Beautiful.

Impromptu Movie Review: The Wrestler

No spoiler alert needed, I'm gonna keep this as non-specific as possible.

The first time I heard (read) of The Wrestler was in Bill Simmons' column in ESPN The Magazine, which I was reading in my apartment, the bathroom.

Supposed to be a joke. Give it a second. Okay.

I haven't cared about professional wrestling since I was about seven years old, but found this movie to be throughly enjoyable. The reason they can call the movie something generic like "The Wrestler" is that the shadowy world of professional wrestling has never been cinematically delved into with so much as a mini series. It achieved a level of realness and believability rarely attained outside of The Wire, and as Simmons says, Rourke was exquisitely cast:

To be honest, I still can't figure out how we didn't get Nicolas Cage in this movie. For $15 million, he gladly would have bleached his Con Air hairdo, bulked up to Kiss of Death proportions, made a few Nic Cage faces—and given us a thoroughly mediocre film. Director Darren Aronofsky should be applauded for avoiding the big-budget route, instead scaling down to an indie and rolling the dice with Rourke. Because Rourke carries this movie. Every frame.
I'm not a movie guy, and aside from some pretty grizzly, bloody scenes, it was awesome. Highly recommended.

And wow... two of my last five posts on a blog called "Fack Youk" praised the Red Sox and agreed with Bill Simmons. Fuck me.

Ed Hochuli Still Screwing People

From Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, via the NFP:

When referee Ed Hochuli reversed the ruling on the field that Ryan Grant had scored an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter Sunday against the Detroit Lions –and instead had just a 21-yard gain -- Grant lost $1.35 million.

Grant could have earned a $1.5 million bonus if he reached 1,250 yards for the season. He only earned $500,000 for finishing with 1,203. Grant also could have earned another $600,000 for placing in the top five among NFC rushers. Grant finished sixth – 35 yards behind Matt Forte of the Bears – to pocket $150,000.
It's actually more about instant replay than Hochuli, but why not pile on?

Possible Pilfery?

By the time the dust settles, I think the number of NFL coaching vacancies will be high enough to virtually guarantee that the Giants lose a coordinator this offseason. According to Ralph Vacchiano, the Lions, Rams, Browns and Jets have all asked or will ask for permission to speak with Steve Spagnuolo and the Raiders (at least) want to talk to Kevin Gilbride.

Does this add to the urgency of this year's playoff run? We've seen the Giants succeed while missing pretty significant pieces on the field, but is it really the schemes and play calls of the coordinators that have been driving the Giants recent run of success?

Ed Valentine of Big Blue View, looks at some possible replacements for Spags, should he depart for his own gig. He comes up with two guys already on the staff, Bill Sheridan (LB Coach), and Peter Giunta (Secondary Coach) and two recently fired NFL coaches with defensive resumes and Giants ties, Romeo Crennel and Mike Nolan.

Spagnulo's scheme seems to be crafted perfectly fit the talent on the team, so it would make sense to promote someone from within, who has better knowledge of the scheme to begin with. On the other hand guys like Crennel and Nolan have leveraged their past success as D-Coordinators in head coaching positions and could probably still be successful with the talent on the Giants' roster.

Only time will tell how much of a hit the Giants will take next season when their staff is pillaged by the dregs of the league. Maybe, one of the reasons the NFL has greater parity than the MLB has less to do with the salary cap, and more to do with the fact that coaching is actually important, and everytime a team has sustained success, the rest of the league trips over themselves to steal their coordinators.

Update: 11:40AM -
Wow. Robert Boland of The National Football Post has an incredibly comprehensive breakdown of actual as well as possible head coaching vacancies and potential candidates from each team.

What If...

Let's just start by saying, this isn't going to happen. I fully realize that. But Plaxico Burress' suspension is up, and he could technically starting working out with the team again. I also believe it is at the Giant's discretion to take him off the Non-Football Injury List and he could play at some point this post season.

The organization would sacrifice a lot of credibility and take major heat for it in the media and Rodger Goodell may even step in with a suspension of his own, which is why it won't happen, but as a fan would you like to see Plax on the field for the playoffs?

I would. The guy made a mistake, a very stupid mistake for which he is going to pay the consequences for at some point. It was a victimless (self-victimizing?) incident, although it certainly could have gone another way. Just this year, other players have taken the field while their legal charges were pending including Matt Jones of the Jaguars (cocaine) and the even the five guys who were involved in the Star-Caps scandal.

Would the enhanced media presence and tough questions swarming around Burress outweigh his ability to stretch the field and take a defender out of the box? If he's even 85 or 90% healthy, I think the on-field advantage wins out.

Sawx Almost Stole Offseason Thunder

Via River Ave. Blues, both Jon Heyman and Tom Verducci are reporting that the Red Sox opened discussions with the Marlins in an attempt to re-acquire Hanley Ramirez. Florida apparently brought up Jacoby Elsbury and Clay Bucholz, but it is unclear where the negotiations hit a standstill. Joesph P. at RAB says:
I know some of you are thinking it, and I’m sure someone has said it in the comments section at MLBTR, but it’s not what you think. This is not Boston retaliating. Signing Carl Pavano and trading for Randy Johnson? Retaliation for 2004. Bidding 27 freaking million dollars on Kei Igawa? Retaliation for Daisuke Matsuzaka (or at least one could make the argument). Attempting a trade for Hanley Ramirez? Not retaliation for the Yankees nabbing Teixeira.
Well said. I think it was retaliation in timing only. I would think that the Teixeira signing might have provided some inspiration, but retaliation is typically foolish and impulsive. Like much of what the Red Sox have done recently, like hiring Bill James, this was a brilliant, calculated maneuver, which would have stolen a whole bunch of off-season thunder from the Yanks. If the Marlins' return was Bucholz, Ellsbury and some lower prospects, it looks initially like a good deal from both sides, just like the deal that sent Ramirez to Miami originally. It would have made me reevaluate my inclination that the Yankees are favorites to take the AL East crown.

The Sox have a loaded farm system and maybe I'm underrating the two principle components of the trade, but it seems like they have a great deal of talent at the AAA level and at a certain point, you can have too many prospects for too few major league spots. It's a nice problem to have, and hopefully the Yanks are headed in that direction as well.

I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball history, and its kinda late, so I think I'm just going to pose a question instead of researching it. Has a similar trade (where teams go back and forth with a player of Ramirez's magnitude) ever happened? The guy gets slept on because he plays in Florida, but look at these numbers for a 24 year old shortstop, playing in a pitchers ballpark (.308/.379/.527 career line). And the Sawx already have Jed Lowrie at short and were thinking about Hanley to CF. Moving a SS to CF, what a novel idea...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fewest Turnovers EVARRR!11!!!11

Via Ralph Vacciano's fantastic Daily News Giants blog, Blue Screen (pretty far down the post):
By not turning the ball over yesterday, the Giants ended the season with just 13 turnovers (10 interceptions, three lost fumbles). That’s the lowest number ever for an NFL team in a 16-game season, eclipsing the mark of 14 set by the 1990 Giants. Interestingly, a few hours later, the Miami Dolphins tied the record. They entered Week 17 with just 12 turnovers, but turned the ball over once against the Jets yesterday, giving them 13, too.
Really? I've only heard this mentioned in conjunction with the Dolphins. The Giants powerful running, strong pass rush and protection of the ball are all attributes that are going to aid them in their title defense, especially with the road to the Super Bowl going through the windy Meadowlands. (And are a big reason that at least one of these coaching vacancies that Joe mentioned this morning is probably going to rob the Giants of a coordinator)

Carl Crawford: 2010

Last week, my esteemed GMail Chat compatriot and future Fack Youk contributor, Cliff and I were debating whether the Rays would pick up Carl Crawford's $10M option for the 2010 season.

Today, Tim Dierkes at MLBTR put together a list of players with Club Options for 2010 and listed Carl Crawford under "Likely To Be Exercised", which is what Cliff had been saying last week.

Looking Cot's MLB Contracts, my argument is that there are several other players with escalating salaries that the Rays can not get out of paying, via an option. Carlos Pena is making $10.125M in 2010, Scott Kazmir is owed $8M, Dan Wheeler $3.5, and being that they are a young team, they are going to be facing some arbitration-forced raises. The Rays had a payroll of a little under $44M this year and if they include Crawford along with the guys above, they will be paying $31.625M for four players.

There are other factors at play here. The Rays have back loaded most of their long term contracts, all of which were signed before the breadth of the current economic downturn was apparent. Much hinges on the Rays ability as an organization to leverage their postseason success last year into a larger and more profitable fan base. Also, Florida has been hit specifically hard by the sub-prime crisis, and it would not surprise me to see the familiar site of an empty Tropicana Dome this year partially as a result of that. If the Rays can pull themselves up from the one of the very lowest grossing teams in the MLB to something closer to a mid-market team, they will be able to retain some of their relatively expensive players.

Like Thurgood Jenkins said in Half Baked, "Samson Simpson, ah stick bah my storiee. (If I wasn't Jamaican, den why would ah be wearin dis hat?)".

Joe Girardi, Take Notice

Since the baseball season ended, stories have drifted out of the Yankees Clubhouse, indicating that the atmosphere was tense and the players didn't like Girardi's tight laced managing style. Sounds pretty similar to the situation with Mangini, which led a Jet player to compare a trip to Mangini's office to the principal's office.

The incomparable Peter Abraham hinted about the comparison in this post without directly saying it. Mike Silva has a much more comprehensive take.

Please, Mr. Girardi, look at the coaches of the two NY football teams, and ask yourself who sets a better example for leading professional athletes. Is it Mangini who has had some success, but is disliked by his players and not transparent with the media? Or is it Tom Coughlin, who adjusted the way he did things by listening more to his players, at a time when almost no one is any walk of life makes major adjustments? Just look at the results.

A Question For Eric Mangini

Is it "schtill all about the processch"?

Cause this seems like it was about the results. It was interesting to hear Mangini go on and on about "the processch" in his mind numbing press conferences, and his supremely bland radio interviews with Michael Kay. In doing this, he was parroting his mentor Bill Belichick, who is also supremely bland guy to listen to in press conferences. Except there is one difference.


When someone is committed to their way of doing things, it initially sounds respectable, and gives you the indication that the person is diligent, and disciplined. But the truth is, this is an extremely arrogant way of managing other people. I can think of another person who has a ton of faith in his "process", and is very inflexible. His name is George W. Bush and if America could have fired him 3/4 of the way through his presidency, I think we probably would have.

Mike Vaccarro gave a great stat on the Max Kellerman show this morning. He said the Jets outscore their opponents in the first, second, and fourth quarters, but are outscored soundly in the third quarter. His theory was that Mangini was failing to make adjustments at the half and the opposing coaches were exploiting that. When you stick to your convictions, you are predictable.

Belichick sticks to the process in terms of preparing for the game, but is possibly the best coach in the league at adjusting to the other teams' gameplan. Tom Coughlin changed his process at an insanely late stage of his career, deferring at times to veteran leaders on the team, and loosening the reigns a bit. I don't need to remind anyone where that took the Giants.

There are plenty of good times to stick to your convictions, be disciplined and adhere to a certain process. It could be a daily routine of exercise and eating. It could be the way that you accomplish a great number of simple tasks at work. Unfortunately for "ManGenius", working in an outrageously competitive business, when your competitors want nothing more than to out-strategize you, is not one of them.

Sawx Sign Brad Penny

Per Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald, the Sawx signed RHP Brad Penny, formerly of the LA Dodgers and Florida Marlins.

The agreement, a one-year deal with a base salary of $5MM, will be finalized Monday. Incentives and performance bonuses can increase the total deal another $3MM if Penny pitches more than 160 innings, McAdam reports.

Good News For Yankee Fans: Penny's Interleague numbers: 7-11 with a 5.08 ERA in 24 appearances against American League opponents. Penny has spent his entire career in the National League.

Based on his contract, I expect him to occupy one of Boston's rotation spots. As with all deals, I like the incentives. However his interleague numbers suggest that this Penny should be more worthless than the one cent currency denomination of the United States.

Here's $8MM more that could have went to Teixeira. Brillinat, Sawx, brilliant!

NFL Coaching Carousel Turns

As I write this, it looks like 3 NFL coaches have been ousted following abysmal seasons in which much was expected of them. Wade Phillips, Puppet Extraordinaire, appears to be safe. With the success of rookie head coaches Mike Smith, Tony Sparano and John Harbaugh, I would expect a lot of new coordinators/position coaches to be hired instead of head coach retreads.

Eric Mangini, New York Jets: After beating the hated AFC East rival Patriots and the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans, the Jets lost 4 out of their 5 to Denver, Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle to finish at 9-7. Mangini in his three seasons with the Jets was 23-26 and 0-1 in the playoffs. Chalk this firing up to Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum trying to cover his rear and deflect any criticism from him for signing #1 NFL Girly Man Brett Favre. As for the future, the “Mangenius” should have no trouble latching on as a defensive coordinator with a solid franchise or as a head coach at a destination like Detroit. It’s too bad the Sopranos is over so he can no longer make guest appearences. However, maybe James Gandolfini can teach him a few ways to off Favre for killing his season and coaching career.

Rod Marinelli, Detroit Lions: Coach Marinelli’s Lions finished 0-16 in 2008, the only team in NFL history to do such and 10-38 in 3 seasons. Don’t blame Marinelli for all of this, folks. This is Matt Millen’s work. Marinelli should latch on somewhere as a position coach, without his son-in-law in tow. No decent coach in his right mind should take this job.

Romeo Crennel, Cleveland Browns: After finishing 10-6 last season, the Browns were expected to be a playoff team. Instead, three starting quarterbacks and 16 dropped Braylon Edwards passes later, Crennel’s team finished 4-12, good for last in the AFC North. Despite the Browns having had 10-12 players who were either selected to the Pro Bowl or who were Pro Bowl alternates during the past two years, along with Romeo, GM Phil Savage is also expected to be canned. Like Mangini, Crennel should latch on with a team as a defensive coordinator. The Browns are expected to make runs at former Steelers coach Bill Cowher (I doubt he has any interest coaching in the same division as the Steelers) and Patriots vice president of personnel Scott Pioli.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Where Are All The Favre-Romo Comparisons Today?

Both were responsible for three turnovers in do or die games. The only difference is that Romo drops his funballs on the ground while Favre throws his up for grabs.

Why Tony Romo Sucks Balls: A Non-In-Depth Analysis Of The Choke Artist Know As Tony Romo

For those of you that have heard me talk (bitch) about the Giants and their trials and tribulations, then you know that I have been calling Tony Romo a fucking choke artist for 3 years. This fucking pole smoker gets thrown in there after Bledsoe, does OK for a few games, and all of a sudden ESPN and every Dallas sympathizer anoints him one of the best QBs in the league. Well you know what? Fuck that, fuck them, fuck Romo, and fuck you too.

Here are my examples:

06-07 Season: He fumbled the snap/hold on the FG attempt in the playoffs, which I hear everyone saying that they used a special ball that was slippery. Everyone that says that can go fuck themselves. At least 31 other people did this job without one person bitching. But Romo fucks up, bitches (along with his teammates, coach, and owner) and the ball gets changed. This is reason #1 why Romo is a fucking faggot and can never win the big game.

07-08 Season: The Great Tony Romo and the Cowgirls are about to host the New York Football Giants in a divisional playoff game. I'll spare you the entire analysis of the game, but basically the Romo's were down 21-17 with less than a minute in the game and Romo throws a pick in the end zone to R.W. McQuarters, ending their season. I don't really remember because I drink a lot but I am sure ESPN and the rest of the Romo loving media had all the excuses out about that play before McQuarters even took a knee.

08-09 Season Week 17 vs. Eagles: Win and you're in, lose and we'll see you next year. I stopped watching this abortion of a game after the Romo's second turnover, a fumble, was returned for a touchdown. What the fuck? Way to show up to the biggest game of the season. As I write this there are probably some douchebags out there writing about how it was Pacman's or whoever's fault, but ultimately it falls on Romo (that fucking failure) because he did not put his team in a position to win.

There are many more reasons why Romo is a choker, douchebag, and big time fag, but I would like to go to sleep sometime this week so I won't write them all. Please feel free to share your favorite Romo failure or dumbass reason why he isn't a failure in the comment section.

Dallas Cowboys Should Be Prodded To Death

Seriously? Wow...

Chris Snee-Tom Coughlin Article From New York Times

Nice article on Chris Snee and Tom Coughlin

Probably one of the only instances in sports where a father-son-in-law relationship works out. True BC Guys.

Week 17: Playoff Implication Games Picks

This week has dragged with no football on Thursday/Saturday. Week 17 of the NFL is finally here. This is by far the most meaningful Week 17 in recent history with 6 playoff spots up for grabs.

Here are my straight-up picks for games with PLAYOFFS implications.

1PM Games

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees breaks Dan Marino's record for most passing yards in a season and makes his claim for NFL MVP as Nawlins wins 34-31.

St. Louis Rams at Atlanta Falcons: Matty Ice and Turner the Burner tear up St. Louis to clinch the NFC South and a first round bye. Falcons 35-14.

New England at Buffalo Bills: The Patriots clinch the AFC East title with a New England win and Miami loss or tie OR New England tie and Miami loss. The Patriots clinch a wild-card spot with a New England win and Baltimore loss or tie OR New England tie and Baltimore loss. As I write this, they are expecting 60 MPH winds with goal posts knocked down. This means that the game will be won in the trenches. Can the Patriots win in the trenches? Buffalo's run D ranks #19 in the NFL and has given up 17 TDs. The Pats' run D is ranked # 13 in the NFL with only 8 TDs given up. Give me a Patriots win in the Wind Bowl. NE 16-6.

New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings: Much to the chagrin of Bears fans, Minnesota wins by virtue of the vaGiants resting their players. Minny Sota wins the NFC North. Minnesota 28-14.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens: Coming off their huge win at the Texas Stadium finale, Baltimore wins handily as Joe "Skinny" Flacco joins my boy Matty Ice as a rookie in the Playoffs. Sorry Jets and Dolphins fans--You're out. Baltimore 21-7.

Chicago Bears at Houston Texans: Bears win this ultimately meaningless game (due to the Vikings winning). Chicago 21-17

Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Bucs: Tampa Bay wins handily, keeping their playoff hopes alive until the conclusion of Dallas/bEagles game. Tampa 24-7.

4PM Games

Miami Doplhins at New York Jets: By virtue of the NE and Baltimore wins, this game is meaningless. If it does become meaningful, Dolphins win as Pennington's small arm outduels the Gunslinger and #1 NFL Girly Man Brett Favre into retirement. Dolphins 24-21

Dallas Cowboys at Philidelphia Eagles: #2 NFL Girly Man always plays well against Philly and today will be no exception. By virtue of the Tampa Bay and Minnesota games, Philly can't get into The Tournament. However, they play tough in Andy Reid's (and maybe McNabb's) last game ever in Philly. Dallas wins 31-28.

8PM Game

Enver at San Diego: The Ed Hockuli Bowl. Karma proves a bitch for the Broncos as LT and Rivers tear up the 27th ranked Enver defense (there is no D in Denver). San Diego 34-24


Atlanta--NFC South and First Round Bye, New England--AFC East, Baltimore--AFC Wildcard, Minnesota--NFC North, Dallas--NFC Wildcard, San Diego--AFC West



EDIT: 5:53 PM: I am now officially a Falcons fan!

Examining Sabathia's Clutchiferousness

I'm not a huge believer tagging someone as clutch and others as non-clutch, especially in baseball. Coming from a research background, it's troubling that you are nearly always working with a small sample size. You also have to take into account that baseball is the most random of sports, and that trying harder doesn't necessarily produce better results (see: A-Rod).

But I think there is a fundamental difference between clutch pitching and clutch hitting. The pitcher is the proactive while the batter is reactive. For the first part of the pitcher/hitter interaction, the batter is actually on the defensive; he is trying to protect the plate. Only after the ball is put in play does the burden of defense shift back to the fielding team. So, pitchers have more control of the situation, and more control means more responsibility for the outcome. And as the old baseball cliche goes, "good pitching beats good hitting".

That said, watching Sabathia in the postseason has been less than awe inspiring. In the 2007 ALDS against the Yankees, Sabathia walked 6 guys in 5 innings, after walking just 37 in 241 innings during the regular season. But CC was let off the hook by Chein Ming Wang who pitched even worse, allowing the Indians to win that game. Against the Sawx in the ALCS, he walked 7 guys in 10.1 innings, and rounded out his postseason line by giving up 15 runs, walking 13, and giving up 21 hits in 15.1 innings for a WHIP of 2.21. Yikes.

It wasn't just 2007. In his postseason career (only 25 innings) he has given up 33 hits, 22 runs, and walked 22 for a WHIP of 2.20. He's got a postseason WPA of -0.74. I know, I know, small sample size, but that is a pretty alarming trend developing.

You may want to offer up what he did with the Brewers this year, taking the ball on short rest and carrying them into the playoffs. In September, he had three awesome starts (25 IP/3ER), and two okay ones (14IP/7ER), and one that was pretty bad (5.2IP/4ER). In his only postseason start, he gave up 5 runs and walked 4 in 3.2IP.

Why would a guy who walks about a guy every three innings throughout his regular season career, nearly triple that rate in the postseason? If a top quality control pitcher were to fold under pressure, the first thing I would expect to go would be that control. You get nervous, lose your rhythm and can't find the strike zone. I'm not a world class golfer, but I've played in Club Championships, State Am's, and DII College tournaments that I felt were pretty important. I have not only felt some nerves, but had them negatively affect my performance. The golf swing, probably like the pitching motion, has little room for error and is best performed under relaxed conditions and a calm mind.

I'm not labeling CC a "choker" or anything like that, I just think it's worth pointing out that so far, he hasn't been able to perform in the postseason. Bad sportswriters like to brand guys with the tag of "clutch" or "anti-clutch" like its some indelible part of their character. David Ortiz, Reggie Jackson, Mariano Rivera, and Curt Schilling are forever enshrined in the Hall of Clutch, just as A-Rod, Bill Buckner, and Mitch Williams are portrayed as choking dogs.

For A-Rod and CC, there is still time to turn it around. A great season leading up to the playoffs could calm some nerves. A few small breaks from the get-go could inspire some confidence, which could snowball into success. A few big moments in October can swing the perception from goat to hero.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pay Pettitte!

As Andy Pettitte's future with the Yankees hangs in contractual limbo, it seems as though the Yankees have forgotten the value of durability in a starting pitcher. Let's look at the Yankees starting staff, in terms of probability of making at least 30 starts and rank them on a scale of 5 question marks where Roy Halliday is a "?" and Carl Pavano is a "?????".

CC Sabathia - The signing of AJ Burnett has made everyone forget about the number of Sabathia pitches Sabathia threw at the end of last year (especially on short rest), and the fact that the guy has thrown 494 regular season, and 19 postseason innings in the past two years. He's been nothing if not durable, throwing at least 192 innings in every season of his career except his first, in which he threw 180, but one has to wonder how long that will hold up.

Rating: ??

Chein Ming Wang - Wang had a freak injury running the bases last year missing about half the season, and has dealt with some fingernail issues in the past. He's a pretty good bet to take the mound every 5 days, but the apparent disrespect he has been shown by the Yanks makes you wonder if they know something we don't.

Rating: ??

AJ Burnett - Burnett has quite the intimate relationship with the disabled list, making several visits for both elbow and shoulder issues. He also has the reputation of not wanting to take the ball unless he was 100%. At the press conference announcing he and Sabathia's signings he claimed that Roy Halliday taught him to be more professional and understand his body better. But the injury history speaks for itself.

Rating: ???

Joba Chamberlain - We have the least data on Joba, but the reason he fell to the 41st pick was his injury history. He didn't have any trouble when he was used out of the bullpen in accordance with The Joba Rules, but when I think of him as a starting pitcher, I can't get the image of him grabbing his shoulder in Texas out of my mind.

Rating: ???

Phil Hughes - Aside from his stellar minor league numbers and short spurts of adequacy at the major league level, he hasn't given any indications that he can stay healthy or effecitve enough to pitch a full major league season. If he wins a spot in the rotation, you will likely see more of Ian Kennedy or Alfredo Aceves than you want to.

Rating: ????

Which brings us back to Pettitte. He has made more than 30 starts in 12 of his 14 major league seasons. Despite pitching poorly in the second half of last season, he was still able to eat innings when he didn't ahve his best stuff. Over his last 12 starts, he averaged just under 6 innings a start while giving over 4.1 runs per start (a 6.25 ERA). After Wang and Joba went down, I believe Girardi used Pettitte to take some pressure off the bullpen, knowing that whoever took the ball after him had a much smaller chance of taking them into the 6th inning or later.

As the Yankees and Pettitte stand at this impasse, they need to ask themselves if an extra $2M or $3M is really worth not bring the lefty back for. I would give him "??" on the scale used above. The top 5 starters on the Rays started 154 of their games last year. Think that had much to do with their success?

Should the Yanks sacrifice some of their rotational stability over 1% or 2% of the payroll? Not offering arbitration to Pettitte in retrospect was probably a smart move, but with the amount of money being throw around this offseason, what's a couple million between old friends?

Girly NFL Stars

Despite being stars in the manliest league on the Earth, the following NFL players often behave like women.

10. Brady Quinn. He likes boys

9. Vince Young. “Mr. Invincible” himself reminds us of that psycho girlfriend who we are better off without.

8. Bill Belichick. He cheats.

7. Reggie Bush. Always hurt, his significant other Kim Kardashian could play inside linebacker for all 32 NFL teams.

6. Jason Taylor. At least in Bill Parcells’ opinion after spending his 2008 offseason winning “Dancing With The Stars.”

5. Eli Manning. His favorite hobby is ANTIQUE SHOPPING with his mother and wife!

4. Matt Leinart. Maybe this ballroom dancing, “Desperate Housewives,” “House Bunny,” “Punk’d” actor should focus on the NFL.

3. Jeremy Shockey. Badass tattoo notwithstanding, one cannot think of Shockey without an image of him flailing his arms at refs looking for a flag after he misses an important catch. Cried his way off a Super Bowl winning team. Cries on his new team. Gets hurt for pivotal games.

2. Terrell Owens. Despite going over the middle like no other receiver in the NFL, he cries for his QB. When he doesn’t get the ball he bitches like a 16 year old who doesn’t get a new car at her Sweet 16 party.

1. Brett Favre. The NFL’s all time “Ironman” (thanks in part to Vicodin and hydrocodones) is an attention whore, drama queen and his favorite word is “maybe.”

Boras Losing Some Shimmer?

This from Kat O'Brien, via River Ave. Blues:

Even Tuesday, hours before Teixeira agreed to terms, the Yankees were pessimistic about getting the 28-year-old slugger, the source said. Boras told the Yankees they needed a 10-year deal, with the last two years as player options. That got an absolute no from the Yankees, who had offered eight years and $180 million ($22.5 million per year).

Around midday Tuesday, Boras said Teixeira would agree to an eight-year contract, but only if the average annual value was $24 million per year, making the total contract value $192 million. The Yankees conferred, then told Boras no, that they had made a fair yet firm offer and would stand pat, the source said. Boras responded by saying that Teixeira likely would be a Red Sox.

The Yankees refused to budge from their offer, and 20 minutes later, Boras called back and said Teixeira would take their eight-year, $180-million offer.
Presuming this is accurate, it seems like GMs and owners have a much better idea of Boras' hand as the negotiations are playing out. John Henry also called Boras' bluff on the higher offer which was probably the same one he was pitching to the Yanks. Last year when A-Rod opted out, no one fell for the 10 year/$333 Million deal minimum that Boras was demanding.

Especially in this economy, there are going to be fewer Tom Hickses and more John Henrys. But, could the increased fluidity of information via the internet and email also be at work here? A team is far less likely to get suckered into a deal that is way higher than the next bidder, because there is increased communication around the league and in the media (especially writer's blogs which are updated constantly), which helps set a firmer market. If everyone has access to the same information, there is bound to be a greater consensus of what a player is truly worth.

This works against Boras in trying to maintain his nearly flawless super-agent persona. He's still probably the best in the game, but the gap is closing between he and guys like Casey Close, Randy Hendricks and Arn Tellum (although Tellum isn't looking so hot after the Furcal to the Braves debacle).

Are we approaching the point where the stigma of being a Boras client outweighs the extra money that a player makes by signing with him? Probably not, but we can dream can't we?

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Wide Receiver/Lead Singer Matching Game

In honor of the previous post, I present the The Wide Receiver/Lead Singer Matching Game!

A. Randy Moss

B. Terrell Owens

C. Plaxico Burress

D. Chad Ocho Cinco

E. Michael Irvin

F. Keyshawn Johnson

G. Wes Welker

H. Chris Carter

1. Mary J. Blige

2. Aretha Franklin

3. Whitney Houston

4. Mariah Carey

5. Madonna

6. Tina Turner

7. Diana Ross

8. Cyndi Lauper

My suggestions:

A&1 – Randy Moss and Mary J. Blige - After enjoying incredible early career success, and taking some time off (Mary J. circa 2000, Randy with Oakland) both have shown a recent resurgance c/o No More Drama.

B&4 – Terrell Owens and Mariah Carey - Both spent time as the preeminent star in their discipline and both have had some pretty serious mental issues. T.O. was benched by the Eagles and Mariah was bought out by Virgin.

C&3 – Plaxico Burress and Whitney Houston - If only for Burress's game winning catch in Super Bowl XLII and Whitney's legendary rendition of the Star Spangled Banner before Super Bowl XXV. (Both in NYFBGiant victories, of course.)

D&5 – Ocho Cinco and Madonna - It takes a special kind of person to refer to yourself as a corruption of a numeral in another language or a term usually reserved for the Mother of Jesus.

E&2 – Michael Irvin and Tina Turner - Both had incredible talent and emotion but are also remembered for off-field/stage events involving drugs and violence.

F&7 – Keyshawn Johnson and Diana Ross - Both fans of interior design and touching breasts.

G&8 – Wes Welker and Cyndi Lauper - They-ah is no hah-dah warkin lead singah than Cyndi Law-pah. (Cheap shot? Yes.)

H&2 - Chris Carter and Aretha Franklin - Neither have the real negative diva connotation in hindsight comparaed to their contemporaries, but both big roles in inspiring future divas in Randy Moss and Mary J. Blige.