Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lessons In Advanced Hindsight, With Mike Lupica

Good morning, Fackers. I think most rational people understand that one of the fundamental concepts of decision making is that you have to make your choice based on the information which was available at the time. Of course, Mike Lupica doesn't fall under the umbrella of "most rational people".

You surely know Lupica from his columns in the Daily News, his Matt Christopher-esque children's sports books, or as the wildly-gesturing smarmy douche on The Sports Reporters who sits on the edge of his seat partially because he feels that he's far too important to be seated in a semi-circle and partially because if he leaned back, his feet wouldn't touch the ground.

Anyway, in today's Daily News, Mike conveniently smothers Joe Girardi's decision to use only his three best starters in the World Series in a thick coating of hindsight, two days after any other course of action could have been chosen:
Joe Girardi knows the deal as well as he knows his way out to the mound. He's right about using only three starters in the postseason if the Yankees win, tonight or tomorrow night.
I love how Lupica sets up the scenario by saying "Girardi knows the deal". Yeah, he knows that if the Yankees lose, he's going to get second guessed by assholes like Lupica who were so convinced that the Yankees should throw Chad Gaudin in Philly that they... didn't write a word about it despite having a column in a newspaper dedicated to writing about sports.
He's right if Andy Pettitte does the job in Game 6 on three days' rest that A.J. Burnett didn't do Monday night. Or he's right if this thing plays all the way out and CC Sabathia carries everybody across the finish line. Girardi just better be right about three days' rest for these guys after being up three games to one.
So was Charlie Manuel right for holding Cliff Lee back to give him his normal rest even though he gave up 5 earned runs because the Phillies won Game 5? Of course! What did you want to judge the outcome based on his "performance" or "availability in a possible Game 7"? Fools.
Because if the Yankees blow this Series, if the Phillies come all the way back, then Yankee fans are going to wonder how the Yankees could spend $206 million on baseball players and not have enough left under the bed to buy a reliable fourth starter.
No, Mike, they're not. That's what they'd be wondering if the Yankees missed the playoffs. Like they did last year. When they spent $209M.

The Yankees have had a payroll over $184M since 2004 and that year none of the 4 guys who started more than 20 games for them had an ERA under 4. In 2005, their 4th starter was either Jaret Wright or Kevin Brown who both had ERAs over 6 and they needed Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon to patch together their rotation. The following year it was Cory Lidle. In 2007, it was Roger Clemens and we all remember how well that worked out in the playoffs!

You have to be a special kind of stupid to wait until the team is one win away from their first World Series in 9 years to start complaining about their lack of a #4 starter.

Oh by the way, the reason they don't have a #4 starter isn't because they "didn't have enough money left under the bed". It's because Chien Ming Wang, who had been their best pitcher over the previous three years, suddenly decided to suck. And Joba Chamberlain, who everyone wanted to go back to the bullpen (including Lupica, obviously), is back in the bullpen.
They will wonder at the same time about how much they think they could get for a copy of "The Joba Rules" on eBay about now.
How much are your books selling for on eBay, Mike? Let me check. One dollar.
There are still a lot of smart, passionate, grudge-holding Yankee fans who want to talk about all the pitching mistakes that Joe Torre made when the Red Sox started to come back on the Yankees in 2004. But when Torre came home in that American League Championship Series, the way Girardi's Yankees come home now, here were Torre's starters:

Jon Lieber, Game 6.

Kevin Brown, Game 7.
Right, so why are you complaining about the rotation this year?
Josh Beckett went on three days' rest in Game 6 of the 2003 Series, Marlins against the Yankees. Everybody screamed that Jack McKeon was making a huge mistake, that he should wait and pitch Beckett on full rest in Game 7 if it came to that. The Marlins manager went all in with Beckett and he pitched one of the most dominating close-out games in the history of the World Series.

He made McKeon right because he won.
Mike Lupica's decision making rubric: Win = Right, Lose = Wrong.

So Mike Lupica's son is dribbling down the court in a CYO game two minutes into the game and decides to fire up a short from half court. It goes in. From the stands, Mike yells "GREAT DECISION, BUDDY!"

Mike Lupica is playing in a poker tournament. Someone raises in front of him. He looks down at the 2 of hearts & the 4 of clubs and pushes all in. His opponent calls with pocket aces but the board reads 3-5-6-K-8. Mike sees that he made a straight and screams "I OUTPLAYED YOU!"

The best decisions are the ones that are most likely to succeed if the scenario is played out over and over again. And guess what. Feeding Chad Gaudin - who lefties have hit .293/.389/.433 off in his career - to the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park isn't one of those decisions.


  1. YES!!!! ATTACK HIM JAY!!! MORE MORE MORE!!! I spent much of yesterday baffled at how panicked the NY sports writers are about Game 6. I feel like I am one of a handful of people who honestly think the Yankees are in the perfect position right now. Even if they COULD change, they wouldn't want to. 2 Best pitchers lined up, including their ace. 2 games in their home stadium. a 3-2 lead.

    If there is a panic button to press, it is in Philly. This short rest talk is bullshit. The Yankees 3 man rotation is tiresome. How about Philadelphia's ONE man rotation?! What about Philly's bullben that gives up at least 2 runs everytime they come in the game? What about their World Series MVP melting down this post season and their ace already played with possibly 2 games left? Short rest? How about Cliff Lee on 2 days?! THAT is short rest. Every damn season the championship team has at least one pitcher on short rest. At least Girardi prepped has prepared his starters to pitch on shrot rest from the beginning of the playoffs. Now they have at least a bit of rhythym. Why is it NOW suddenly a major concern? Shit, up 3-2 and headed home with our top pitchers ready, including the winningest post season pitcher ever, we ought to be pretty fucking thrilled IMO!!

    oh, and there was no real question that Burnett wasn't on the hill for Game 5. Gaudin?! Even in the regular season he wasn't very good. the real baseball experts weren't questioning that. It was FOX announcers (they aren't analysts cus they don't have any insight past a teleprompter) trying to build up the tension. Mark Grace (who never misses a moment to bring up Arizona beating Mo) and Barry Larkin are hitters. The hell do they know about pitchers reacting on short rest?!

    Philly is in a HUGE bind. Manuel messed up in a big way. Girardi actually has this one set up perfectly.

  2. Awesome post. Right on the money.

  3. Delta Suite takes my $$$11/4/09, 11:18 AM

    Glad to see someone share my opinion of this midget fuck!
    I wonder what he was like as a child? Wait.....I don't want to know.

  4. Thanks, guys. Sometimes the low hanging fruit is the most delicious.

    Delta - Imagine what he's like as a husband or father.

    Wife: Honey, I think we should go to the 5:30 showing of the movie, it will be less crowded.


  5. I stopped reading Lupica a few years ago. It's hard not to read him when a particularly anti-yankee headline tries to pull me in.

    I work it like I now do when there is a serious accident on the side of the road. I realize that the reason the traffic is so slow is because everyone is checking out the accident. I purposely look away when I get near the accident.

    Yes, I may be missing a severed limb, a pool of blood, or a head in an Omen like state, but I am not contributing to the traffic jam.

    However, if I am a passenger in said car, I can look at whatever I want. Thank you Jay, for being the driver so I can see the carnage that is a Lupica column.

  6. You killed it, man. Lupica is a moron.

  7. A second round of thanks is in order.

    Mode - Glad to take the wheel for you, buddy.

  8. This post is tits.