Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And All He Gets Paid To Do Is Talk

Now, I know that ESPN generally only lets Andy Gresh near a live radio mike before noon on weekends, when most sports fans are either unconscious, hungover, or warming up for actual game coverage. Having heard Gresh's too-friendly uncle bit on more than one occasion, I can understand why. But tonight, for whatever reason, they let him sub for Doug Gottlieb on The Pulse, and in the roughly three minutes I listened to him (we have very long red lights in Durham), he managed to uncork two gems.

First, he bemoaned the fact that Media Day at the Super Bowl has become a media circus. Well, yes. That's why it's "Media Day", and complaining that TV Azteca or Nickelodeon or HGTV is showing up and asking questions is to willfully ignore the fact that the NFL has very deliberately positioned the Super Bowl as a cultural event, not a football game. Yes, the woman in the wedding dress asking Tom Brady to plight his troth was goofy, but then again, so was the "Who's Next?" yammer-off, or the Budweiser Hot Seat. (Note to Budweiser: "warm ass" and "interrogation" do not make me think "cold frosty lager"). If you're going to be part of the culture that turns the Super Bowl into a circus where the game is incidental, don't complain when the game turns into a circus where the game is incidental.

Besides, it's Tuesday before the Super Bowl. It's not like you're going to get any straight answers out of Belichick anyway.

The other G-bomb he dropped was that the events of Media Day have now gone, and I quote, "from the ridiculous to the sublime". I don't know about you, but I think we left sublime behind on this one a long time ago.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How To Deal Your Best Tradeable Asset

Your Minnesota Twins Front Office


Step 1 - Gauge fan reaction.
Step 2 - Sign other fan favorites to contracts to show that you're spending money.
Step 3 - Before residual goodwill dissipates, trade your Cy Young-caliber ace to the Mets for a remainder bin of prospects.
Step 4 - Profit! (Sorry, Underpants Gnomes)

It's not quite as bad as all that, but considering what the Orioles look poised to grab for oft-injured Eric Bedard, it's not much of a haul. As Keith Law correctly pointed out on ESPN.com, you don't trade your best guy without getting the other guy's best prospect, and they didn't get the Mets' best prospect.

Or maybe I'm just bitter because this simultaneously vaults the Mets into the favorite's role in the NL East while savaging my fantasy baseball team, which had been counting on cheap steals out of Carlos Gomez and hoping for some pitching help from Philip Humber.

In either case, it can't be fun to be a Twins fan right now. Odds are, with Santana gone Joe Nathan is next to go, and if GM Bill Smith only brought home this much for Santana, I can't imagine he'll get phat l00t for his closer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Him Smart

One of the artificial battle lines drawn over the use of statistics in baseball is that the quote-unquote "stat geeks" never "played the game". This is patently untrue, of course - ask Chuck Tanner - but it's a convenient, arbitrary divider.

At least, it is until someone like Royals pitcher Brian Bannister comes along. In a three-part interview over at MLBTraderumors.com, Bannister demonstrates how hard he works on the cerebral side of the game, and how he uses statistical analysis to put himself in a better position to win.

With luck, and more Brian Bannisters, in twenty years the divide will be gone. Can't hurry the good things, I suppose...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

So What Are The Odds...

...that if the Patriots, having dispatched a gimpy and undermanned Chargers squad, roll over the G-men in the Super Bowl and cause Bill Simmons to spontaneously combust?

Not that I don't want to see a perfect season, particularly since their opposition is the Menace of the Meadowlands, but I can dream.

Of course, if the Giants win, it'll be Tiki Barber going up in a ball of red-hot oxidation instead.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Random Bostonia

...but is anyone else suspicious that Dan Shaughnessy's latest unprovoked attack on the dreaded statnerd baseball fan was done with a cynical eye toward:
A)knowing the comment would be picked up and commented on by blogs like Shysterball (which, incidentally, is far better written and much more incisive than anything the CHB has offered in years), which would lead to...
B)lots and lots of clickthroughs to the original article, thus boosting the CHB's hit numbers?

Side note - at what point did "stat nerd who lives in his parents' basement" replace "fantasy baseball nerd who lives in his parents' basement" as the insult du jour for analytically-minded baseball fans? The effect is the same either way, a lame ad hominem designed to provoke enraged responses over the name-calling, as opposed to rational debate over baseball (which, frankly, is the one thing a guy like Shaughnessy doesn't actually want).

Oh, and Jim Rice's Hall of Fame candicacy? I'm a firm believer that the Hall of Fame needs to take into account the mythology of baseball as well as the numbers, but the myth of Jim Rice doesn't extend too far south of Meriden, Connecticut. Rice was a very good hitter who had Coors Field-sized home-road splits, played poor-to-mediocre defense, and had fewer home runs than Dale Murphy. A suspicious man would think that the rampaging advocacy on Rice's behalf by the Boston media is by way of a belated apology for the way in which he was treated during his playing days, or maybe just the after-effects of the nostalgic glow affecting all things Red Sox these days. I'd rather see Rock, Hawk, and Murph in the Hall first, in that order.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Year, Old Moves

Specifically, busted ones.

(Courtesy of The Zo Zone)
There was an error in this gadget