Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Facts In The Case Concerning D. Sterling


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, staring down the barrel of a playoff boycott, pulled the trigger on Clippers owner and inveterate dirtbag of long standing Donald Sterling. Eager to lap the punishment MLB laid on Marge Schott back in the day, Silver has fined Sterling $2.5M (pocket change to a guy worth 1.9 billion or so), suspended him permanently, and announced plans to force Sterling to sell the team. It's clear, it's clean, and it's a win for those of us who prefer our sports without overt and gnarly racism of the sort Sterling has been spouting for years. Never mind that, as Dave D'Alessandro pointed out, Sterling is hardly the only charmer among NBA owners, or that the NBA has for years been aware of exactly what sort of creature Sterling is and chose to hold its collective nose and do business with him as part of the cartel anyway. Bomani Jones has already laid down the best word on that subject.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Baseball-English Translation Guide, Part 2

  • "He just doesn't know how to win" - his team didn't score any runs while he was pitching.
  • "What's important is that everyone in the bullpen knows their role" - the closer is simultaneously the most expensive and the worst pitcher out there, but even he can generally get three outs without melting down too often.
  • "He's hitting the ball hard but right at people" - Other teams have scouting reports and position their fielders accordingly.
  • "He's much less effective working from the stretch" - because that's what he does when there are runners on, as opposed to when the bases are empty
  • "RBIs are much more important than getting on base" - The commentator has not yet figured out that the runs that get batted in are the result of someone getting on base.
  • "Guys who take a lot of walks clog the bases" - Because aesthetically speaking, the clean, empty expanse of a base with no one on it is much more pleasing
  • "He really wanted that pitch" - Because it was a foot and a half outside
  • "The batter wants to know where that pitch was" - Because it wasn't over the plate
  • "Should be an easy play for the left fielder" - But won't be, because this guy takes worse routes to the ball than Ponce De Leon
  • "Struggling to find himself at the plate" - The Pointer Sisters have had a hit more recently than this guy
  • "Still has to earn back the fans' trust" - this guy got caught using PEDs and everyone outside his team's home town hates him. The hometown fans, on the other hand, think he's the greatest thing since microbrews at ballparks, at least as long as he keeps producing. If he's ever traded or signs elsewhere as a free agent, his former hometown fans will suddenly decide en masse that he's a bum, while the new hometown fans will embrace him. 
  • "He's a different hitter on the road" - And by different, we mean "worse"

Monday, April 21, 2014

Who The Good Guys Are

Once upon a time, everybody hated Bryce Harper. They hated him because he was cocky and arrogant and disrespectful (or possibly a 17 year old kid who had been told most of his life he was a transcendent talent and who was under an intense media spotlight from the age when it became possible for him to grow hair in awkward places).

This lasted for a while, until suddenly an idiot political columnist had a new idea: Bryce Harper, who didn't do underaged drinking and who went all-out on every play, even when that meant crashing into walls, was no longer Everything Wrong With Baseball.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Baseball to English Translation Guide, Part 1

Now that baseball season is underway, we here at Sportsthodoxy felt it would be a public service to translate some of the more obscure phrases in Baseballese into English for our readers. For example:

  • "This team's got great chemistry" - Nobody's punched anyone over what music gets played in the locker room. Yet.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Must-Read x3

Here are three excellent pieces of long-form sportswriting that you should read.

  • This one, over at SBNation, explores the world of an SEC football "bagman", who slips kids and families cash in exchange for results on the field. 
  • This one, from Deadspin, is written by a man who used to manage boxers - and fix matches.
  • This one, at ESPN, talks about what Yasiel Puig went through - and is still going through - in order to get to the US to play baseball. 

They are all sobering reminders that the machinery of big-time sports is lubricated, not just in sweat, but in money and blood, and that the blood can be shed unwillingly. Never mind stadium shenanigans or any of the other stuff we usually yell about here; all three of these are about what it takes to keep our sports entertainment flowing. 

Enjoy the reads. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Under Mis-Standings

You want to know why not a ton of people get that into hockey's regular season? It's because you look at the standings and the NHL looks like a second grade spelling be where everyone's rewarded for participation.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Raul Ibanez has 2000 more hits than you do.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Shark, Tanked

So it's Jeff Samardzija's turn to be That Guy.

You know That Guy. The pitcher who does a good job every time out there, but whose team suddenly decides that baseball bats are leading cause of deforestation and refuses to hit? The guy who can't buy a win for love or money, no matter how well he pitches? The guy who, for whatever reason, will have ten thousand fantasy baseball owners shaking their tiny fists, and tiny-minded commentators saying gravely "well, he just doesn't know how to win."
This year, the Shark has pitched 3 times. He has an ERA of 1.29. Last night, he went seven, allowing one run on six hits with no walks. He left with a 2 run lead, which the bullpen promptly coughed up. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

One Thumb Ligament Equals Two Feet

Everybody repeat it with me: headfirst slides into first base are dumb.

The latest casualty? Josh Hamilton, who ripped up his thumb's internal workings and will be out a couple of months as a result. This is not a new thing for Hamilton, who is making something of a second career out of doing dumb things early in the season that get him hurt, but it's a bad thing for the Angels, who were enjoying his small sample size return to form in hopes that he'd help them return to relevance.

Instead, this.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Why UMass Was Rooting For a Meteor

There was one thing guaranteed in last night's UConn-Kentucky championship game: UMass fans were going to feel screwed regardless. 


Monday, April 07, 2014

The Wisdom of the Aged, Fantasy Baseball Edition

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014 Jim Vatcher Memorial League participants.
Not pictured: The guy smart enough not to show up for the game
As noted in this space last year, I play fantasy baseball. More specifically, I've been playing fantasy baseball with largely the same unlikely bunch of guys for a very long time; to wit, we just had our 24th annual draft.

In other words, I have coworkers younger than my fantasy baseball league. Which is exactly the sort of thing you say around the table at your 24th annual draft if you want everyone there to suddenly feel very old. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

Opening Night at the DBAP

"You know, we could stay on this mound and not have to go back to Gwinnett"
Last year, opening night at the Rogers Centre for the Blue Jays. This year, opening night at the refurbished Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the Bulls and Gwinnett Braves. Oddly enough, the number of passed balls was roughly the same, even without R.A. Dickey on the mound; Christian Bethancourt did a passable impression of J.P. Arencibia, which had him chasing baseballs all night.

Great Moments In Sports Talk Radio: 76ers Division

Overheard on ESPN radio yesterday: a debate over whether the Philadelphia 76ers, as currently constituted, could beat any of the Final Four teams in this year's NCAA tournament. And this was an actual debate.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Fun Times in DC

When Terrell Owens signed with the Dallas Cowboys, I was walking through DFW Airport. The TV monitors all over the terminal announced the news, and the locals went crazy, and I stood there quietly by the Dickey's BBQ Pit, giggling, because as an Eagles fan, I knew exactly what sort of three -trombone-down-a-blind-alley pileup that was likely to turn into. 

Now, a few years on. History repeats itself. Another mercurial ex-Eagles receiver, DeSean Jackson, has signed with a division rival. And again, the instinct is to giggle.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

April Fools

We were going to do an elaborate April Fool's Day post, but then yesterday:

  • Cliff Lee gave up 8 runs and still got the win.
  • The Brewers switched closers during the first game of the season
  • Don Baylor got seriously injured catching the ceremonial first pitch at last night's Mariners-Angels game
  • The two time defending AL West champion A's lost their 10th straight opener
  • Billy Hamilton got the golden sombrero
  • Cubs-Pirates was scoreless until the 10th inning
  • Ryan Braun got a standing ovation from Milwaukee fans
  • Red Sox reporters - well, Dan Shaughnessy - panicked.

And really, there's nothing we can come up with to top any of that.