Posted on: October 12, 2012 6:20 pm
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Looking In The Mirror

My least favorite time of day to look in the mirror is first thing in the morning.  My eyes are red and puffy from sleep, with the obligatory gunk in the corners.  There are creases on my face from the pillowcase and drool stains on my pajama top.  Not a very pretty picture and I'm sure I've frightened myself by catching sight of this horrible reflection before I was ready to fully handle it.  It's hard to see the ugly side of yourself; sometimes it's downright terrifying.

Week two of the NFL saw a game between the Washington Redskins and the St. Louis Rams, a game that was more exciting than many thought it would be.  One play that has been talked about heavily is the play that saw Redskins receiver Josh Morgan lose his cool with defensive back [Cortland Finnegan], a known irritant in the NFL.  Morgan's ill advised lapse in judgment cost his team 15 yards on a personal foul penalty and in effect the game, as kicker Billy Cundiff missed the now 62 yard field goal attempt.  Not a brilliant decision, but the real personal foul came after the game.

Social media is a boon to everyone who uses it.  Social media can connect us, bring us closer to people we otherwise would be separated from, like sports stars.  Unfortunately that closeness can cause problems as the internet breeds a lot of tough acting World Wide Web gangsters, spraying their vitriol with indiscriminate aim.  Many took to Twitter to express their “gratitude” for Morgan's actions, giving him great advice about what he should do with and to himself.  One of my favorite suggestions is that Morgan's child should have a football thrown at it.  Morgan made a mistake, but he apologized for it and said he is taking steps to ensure it never happens again. I'm sure no one would like to be judged by their worst act, but this couldn’t possibly be Morgan's worst act in his lifetime.  He cost his team 15 yards, yes, but how bad is that really?  And that brings us to the Gladiator quote used to start off this piece.  The NFL is for entertainment.  As fans we take this sport way too seriously, and that's why our access to players has been restricted so much; that's why fans went from freely mingling with players to being separated from them by burly security men, gates, access passes and metal detectors.  Morgan made a mistake, and yelling at the television screen is one way to react; another is to go on a social media platform and threaten his life.  Only one of those has any logic to it.

Maybe because these men are our version of Roman gladiators we think they are immune to pain in any form.  Maybe because these men perform feats each week that most of us are envious of we think they are truly invincible.  Or maybe social media has a detrimental effect on our ability to realize that there are real people on the other side of the "send" button on our phones.  Maybe because all we see are avatars and words we forget that someone is reading what we write, and somewhere it hurts them.  Or maybe these fans need to step away from the television and find some sort of perspective.  This mistake cost a sports teams a win.  Nothing more.

Twitter can be an amazing tool for social change, as it was during the Egyptian revolution; it can be an instrument that helps heal an aching body through humor, as Oakland Athletics pitcher [Brandon McCarthy] showed us; but it’s when Twitter is used to harass and badger a young man I wonder at our capacity to make anything into a weapon of mass destruction.  Death threats were sent to another NFL player, Kyle Williams, last year when he fumbled two punts during a playoff game for the San Francisco Forty-Niners.  The young man was only 23 years old and yet some members of the Forty-Niners section of the Twitterverse decided the right thing to do would be to terrorize him when he was probably already feeling like the smallest person in the world. 

Twitter shouldn’t be a weapon; it should be a forum to share, to entertain, and to learn.  It can only become a weapon when we give in to our basest selves and vent our anger before we have time to calm down and really see that what we are livid about doesn’t really matter.  The fans who felt the overwhelming need to run to Twitter and attack Morgan need to look in the mirror and smile, see that there are much more important aspects of life to become incensed about.  The reflection they're casting now is an ugly one, and it's frightening the children.  Remember; it’s only entertainment.

Posted on: August 21, 2012 7:16 pm
 

Hola Pelota

            This is the first year in the history of the MLB that three perfect games have been tossed.  This coupled with the call-ups of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have made this an extraordinary year of baseball, one that has me as excited to be a fan as when my San Francisco Giants won the championship.  I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next, and it’s been a while since that has happened.  In fact, I can tell you when it was; it was the year that Sosa and MacGuire were chasing each other and Roger Maris’ homerun record.  That was the last time baseball really captured my attention on its own merits.  I was a causal fan after that until a few years ago when my friend introduced me to the heavenly drug that is fantasy baseball.  That made me watch the sport with an intense passion, albeit still not the same fervor that gripped me as I watched Sosa and MacGuire bat ball after ball into the stands.  Souvenirs for all!  Little did I know that both players would be implicated in the steroid debacle, nor could I know that the man that broke both the record MacGuire put up and the overall homerun record held by Hank Aaron would also find himself accused of being tainted with PED’s. 

Barry Bonds being a member of the Giants was bittersweet.  I will admit to watching him hit homerun after homerun, and for rooting for him.  I hated myself for doing so but man was it fun to watch.  We were told to love the homerun.  There was a marketing pitch aimed at females, saying “Chicks dig the long ball.”  And then we found out that some of the players had to juice in order to give us what we wanted, to keep supplying the power surge through 162 games in about 200 days, more if their team makes the playoffs, even more based on how far that team goes in the playoffs.  Factor in time spent doing interviews, radio spots and batting practice and the average baseball player must get tired along the way.  We expect these men to be superheroes, and they aren’t.  They just seem that way because they can do something most of us never will be able to.  These men are a percentage of a percentage, and so we look at them and see the INVINCIBLE, but they are all as fallible as we are, sometimes more because of the way they are treated.

            I was in a fancy restaurant (humble brag) with a friend, sitting at the bar watching a soccer game when the news came across the crawl that Melky Cabrera was suspended for using PED’s.  My first thought wasn’t about him or what he was going through.  Nope, as a selfish fan waiting to watch the Giants play against the Nationals that day the first thought I had was “Well, there go the playoffs.”  Not something I’m proud to admit but it’s the truth.  I thought about the effect it would have on my team, on my viewing experience.  The Giants lost that day, but I’m not going to say that Cabrera would have made them win, nor that the distraction of learning about the suspension caused them to lose.  They might have lost the game anyway because the Nationals are pretty good and Timmy was pretty bad.  But now that I’ve have a chance to think about the suspension I’m sad for Melky because he felt the need to use PED’s, because he felt the need to create a false website to help him lie, and because he might not only have cost himself millions of dollars, he might have cost himself his career and, if Rick Sutcliffe had his way, his ability to remain in this country.

            The Melk-Man had a resurgent year with Kansas City in 2011, hitting .305/.339/.470 (Average/On-Base/Slugging).  Before that year, his best line was .280/.360/.391 in 2006 with the Yankees, so we know he can hit.  Even though his average has fluctuated, he has always been able to get on base, and he’s always had power.  He could never put it all together, and it seemed like he did with the Royals.  There was no noise about steroids, and looking at his other numbers and the 2006 season I have to assume that last year was clean.  Melky could have come to San Francisco and regressed a bit but still have been a fan favorite.  The team might not have won as many games, but no one would have laid the blame at his feet for that.  Now, as evidenced by the first thought that crept into my mind and the minds of a lot of the Giants fans I know, if the team misses the playoffs the blame will be solely on Melky for cheating in order to play well while trying to impress 30 different teams and fan bases to maximize his earning potential.  Yes, I just said this is about money, but I don’t blame him.  He should try and get as much money as he can from teams when he can, because no player knows when he’ll play his last game.  Earn while you have the power to command a high dollar amount.  I’m just sad he thought he had to cheat in order to earn that money.  I’m really sad he did it while a member of my favorite baseball team because it only helps to fuel the stigma already enveloping the Giants.  Guillermo Mota was suspended 50 games this season, and the Bonds steroid cloud will hang over the city forever.  We didn’t need another prominent player being hit with a ban for PED’s, but we got one anyway, and it doesn’t look like he’ll get the Braun treatment, not with the false internet website he helped sponsor in order to fool the MLB  in believing his innocence.  It didn’t work, and he might receive more than the 50 game minimum for a failed first test.  And if Judge Sutcliffe takes the case, he’ll be sent back home, stripped of his right to work and live in this country.  That last may be a bit too far, but no matter what happens, Melky brought a lot of this on himself.  The fans who love the long ball, however, helped push him towards it.  We all have a bit of culpability in the PED crimes.

            This has been an extraordinary year in baseball, but while we should enjoy the good that the game has brought us, we can’t ignore the fact that some of the excitement was also the product of the Braun steroids story and now the Melky Cabrera one.  These men aren’t superheroes, and we need to stop treating them as such.  They play a game, they entertain us, and they are willing to put their livelihoods and health on the line in order to earn more money.  There is something wrong with the game, and the people who watch it, when that is the reality.          

Posted on: August 14, 2012 2:33 pm
 

Eight-Five

            Control is next to impossible to achieve.  No matter how much we plan, no matter how much we try and script life there is a small moment that begins to unravel our tightly wound world.  When I first thought about what this week’s blog entry would be on, I wanted to write about which aging receiver trying to revive their career would have a better year; TO, Chad Johnson-Ochocinco-John-Jacob-Jingle
heimerschimt or Randy Moss.  I was going to do crazy amounts of research, give you stats and charts and graphs in order to prove my point.  And then I woke up this weekend and my whole ball of yarn was unwound on the floor.  One third of my blog entry was in jail for allegedly assaulting his wife, and I no longer knew what to write.

            Life gets in the way, and we have to make difficult choices about how to navigate through the mire that those choices leave behind.  I love writing this, even though it seems few read it and even fewer comment on it.  It’s a nice release, however, and forces me to be focused and study the topics I wish to write about.  It also allows me to provide entertainment while still putting parts of my personality on display through my writing and the arguments I pontificate on.  When you click on my blog, you know what you’re going to get.  If you don’t like how I write, or you can’t stand my writing persona, you don’t have to click on my entries.  Simple as that.

            The Miami Dolphins didn’t have to sign Johnson to a deal.  They knew what they were getting.  They should have understood the type of personality they were placing on their team.  If they didn’t then shame on them, because there was plenty of tape that told you what he would do once he was on the team.  The New England experiment was an outlier, made possible by the fact that Bill Belichick brooks no fools.  Anywhere else Johnson went he was going to perform, both on and off the field, the way he performed in Cincinnati.  The Dolphins, having a dearth of talent at the wideout spot were going to either have to deal with him, or settle for rolling with what they had and being happy about it.  They chose to sign Chad, and so they shouldn’t have been surprised when he went out and “performed” during a media session.  That doesn’t excuse his behavior; I understand the chagrin of head coach Joe Philbin and why he felt he needed to talk to Johnson after the expletive laden session, but once again, that’s what the Dolphins bought.  Don’t complain about the sour milk you purchased; you clearly saw it was past the expiration date.

            Now, however, Johnson has gone a bit too far.  He has allegedly committed domestic abuse and should, if guilty, be punished to the full extent of the law.  I grew up with a physically abusive step-father and don’t condone any man accosting a female.  That being said, no one but Chad and his wife know what really happened, so we should all wait for the facts to enter the public record before castigating him.  The Dolphins didn’t wait, and cut Johnson a day after the incident, although Philbin was quick to speak on the situation, saying “I'd like to address the roster move we made last night. As with any type of these decisions, it was not an easy one. It was not reactive. Nor was it based on one single incident. In making these decisions we base our evaluations on a set of criteria that supports our organizational goals and includes the player's performance both on and off the field."  Now, the Dolphins, and any team in the NFL, can make a move for any reason, and they had a good reason to make this move if they feel that Johnson is guilty of the crime he is accused of committing.  They can’t be cutting him for the cursing during the media session, since Johnson listened to Philbin and curbed the attention he sought from the cameras around the team.  There has only been one public incident, and that is the domestic abuse.  That is cause enough to cut a player, and if that is the reason they cut him they should have the guts to tell the world that is why.  They don’t have to belittle Johnson, but they can say they don’t want the stigma of that situation to surround their football team. 

            True leadership is doing what is right, even if that means making the unpopular choice.  There are many fans who might forgive Johnson almost anything because they feel he could provide some production for the team.  True leadership is also being smart enough to make a change before a situation occurs.  Philbin and Dolphins brass knew what Johnson was; a media whore.  A talented media whore, but a media whore nonetheless.  If Johnson couldn’t make it work both on and off the field in New England with one of the greatest coaches and one of the greatest QB’s in the game, what was he going to do in Miami?  Make waves looking into the camera and proclaiming his own greatness, that’s what.  Once again, they had all the tape they needed to assess what Johnson truly was.  Here was a chance for the organization to take a true leadership role in the NFL, to reestablish themselves after years of irrelevance and the “Is your mother a prostitute” incident.  Instead of leading, the Dolphins would rather follow, telling everyone that they cut Johnson for other reason than he might have hit his wife.  They weren’t embarrassed that Jeff Ireland asked Dez Bryant about his mother being a prostitute, but telling the world they don’t wish to associate with alleged wife beaters is too much to handle.  They missed a chance to be real leaders, to speak up and take a stand.

            No matter how much we plan, sometimes forces take control of our lives in ways that we can’t imagine.  When the world is unraveling around us, we should try and wind it back up, instead of looking at the mess and walking around it, too embarrassed to admit we helped make it.

Posted on: August 7, 2012 3:58 pm
 

Risk/Reward

            “He will bring them death, and they will love him for it.”

 

Gladiator is one of my favorite movies, and not because Ridley Scott was a historical purist and made sure to develop a story that used absolute fact to craft a wonderful viewing experience.  Nope, he packed blood, gore and political intrigue into a potent package that was entertaining while adhering to little actual fact.  The movie was an orgy of sword play and death, and my college roommate and I would pop it in and watch it at least once a day.  One scene in particular would make us rewind over and over again; the one in which Maximus carves through seven or eight massive mounds of human flesh, picking them apart like Shaq picks apart a buffet.  A red curtain would fall over my eyes and I would be taken by a bit of bloodlust as this scene would replay on the television.  I’d want to go out and slay my enemies, find a well sharpened sword and take on all who would oppose me.  I’d get arrested if I really tried that of course, but this didn’t stop me from fantasizing. 

            At the end of Gladiator we see Djimon Hounsou’s character Juba burying two figures in the dirt of the closed arena, a fog settled on the grounds that makes it look darker than it has the whole movie, even though the stopping of the gladiatorial matches should have been a bright occurrence, not a drab, depressing one, but it makes a delightful contrast to the rest of the movie.  The fighting and the killing are done in beautiful lighting and with an almost reverent touch that mimics how the Roman crowds treated the spectacle displayed before them.  With the loss of the gladiators and the shutting down of the coliseum the fog has taken over, obscuring Juba’s surroundings.  He and the remaining fighters are free, but their future is obscured, as is the future of the crowd that enjoyed the entertainment.

            What does this have to do with anything?  Am I just using this space to share my love of a historically inaccurate movie?  No.  The current field of NFL fans are the new gladiatorial audience, and the players on the field the gladiators.  There isn’t nearly the amount of bloodshed on the gridiron and there was in the Roman coliseum, but the toll on the body of an NFL player is just as exacting.  We are watching grown men kill themselves for our entertainment, and we refuse to allow them the chance to be safer in the game.  Just look at all the former players that have passed away or have taken their lives prematurely.  The game is painful and dangerous, and we are cheering grown men killing themselves softly for us.  They are risking everything, and when we hear about changes being made to the game we scream about not wanting to have it turned into flag football, that they should put tutus on the QB’s.  That is a disgusting way to look at the situation.  Last year the NFL implemented new rules when it came to kickoffs, and the crowd went insane.  That was a relatively small change.  Science has caught up with the game and explains what really happens to the players who strap on the pads for us every Sunday…and Monday, and Thursday, and Saturday.  The players are suffering from head trauma.  The year before the kickoff rule there were 270 documented concussions, 35 of them on kickoffs; after the rule was implemented there were 266 concussions, 20 of them on kickoffs.  While I still think 20 concussions are too much, the drop in number is gratifying.

            I remember trying out for my high school football team, and the first day of practice a kid walked up to the coach and told him that he had a buzzing going on in his head and he was feeling sick.  Coach told him that once the kid developed a callous around his brain he’d be fine, that the kid just wasn’t used to taking the hits that come along with playing football.  WHAT!?  A callous around your brain?  Now, as a kid you don’t know how to argue against that, and the coach had been around football longer than any of us had, but he was in charge and that was his response.  He didn’t check the kid, have him sent to the office or phone his parents with a concern.  He just told the kid he had to build a callous.  That is the culture of football, ladies and gentleman.  That is what we give our money, time and love to.  A culture of Neanderthals who think brain injuries are nothing.  I love the NFL, but after reading about the damage that is being done to the players, after seeing player after player die young, or kill themselves, I want change.  I want to risk my enjoyment of huge hits to make sure these men can live long enough to watch their children grown to be adults, won’t feel depressed because their brain chemistry is screwed up after years of colliding with 300+ pound men 50 times a game for 16+ weeks a year. 

            I’m scared for the day that I have to hear my son ask me, “Dad, can I play football?”  I was allowed to play, and always pictured going to my son’s game with pride, screaming “that’s my kid” when he makes a good play, celebrating his triumphs, watching him be drafted to the NFL (I have lofty dreams).  But I don’t know if I could actually let my kid play knowing what I know now.  Would I be doing him any favors?  I’m also scared one day we’ll see a player drop dead on the field.  I remember watching the injury to Buffalo Bills backup tight end Kevin Everett that cost him his career.  As players get bigger and stronger, they hit harder and cause more damage.  When I was a kid William Perry was a monster in the game at 6’2”, 335 LBS playing defensive tackle.  Now you have an Albert Haynesworth clocking in at 6’6” 350.  Imagine running into that multiple times a game, multiple times a year.  No wonder players soak in ice tubs after competition.  Not too many jobs cause employees to soak in ice tubs. 

            There is a risk attached to the NFL, but fans seem to think it is their risk.  The risk that rule changes will make the game less enjoyable, that it will change from the sport they’ve always watched.  It has to change though, and the long term repercussions of the sport are making that very evident.  These men are risking their lives to entertain us; the least we can do is risk a little enjoyment to make the game safer for them.  The future of the game is obscured by fog, but there are enough facts out there to clear the air.  Let’s use those facts to help change the game for the better, not let our bloodlust keep it dark and drab and dangerous because we resist change.        

Category: NFL
Tags: Concussions
 
Posted on: July 30, 2012 1:07 pm
 

4 Year Plan

            I’m about to admit something that few sane people would ever admit.  I know it will bring me ridicule but I just have to get it off my chest.  I have to tell someone. 

            I don’t give a *bleep* about the Olympics.  Not a bit.

            Okay, that might be an exaggeration.  I’ll watch the soccer matches, and also the volleyball.  I may watch some of the basketball games, but I’m sure it won’t total five full minutes of viewing (dis)pleasure.  None of this makes me sound like a meat eating, beer swilling hot-blooded American but that’s my story. 

    And that right there is the problem ladies and gentlemen.  Story.  I have no clue as to who most of these people are, what they’ve done, where they’ve been.  There’s no back story, no context.  All that to say this:

            I DON’T CARE!

            And I’m sad about that.  I really am, but that’s how it is.  And it’s the fault of whoever runs the public relations department of the IOC.  How hard could it be to find a handful of surefire Olympians and pump a few feel good stories to the international public?  Look how quickly information was disseminated about Jeremy Lin, and he isn’t someone who was going to perform on the worlds’ stage.  Besides Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Ryan Lochte I didn’t know any of the names attached to most of the events on display, and I realize that it’s been that way for me for years.  I feel like I’m missing out on something when I hear people talk about the Opening Ceremonies as if they were appointment viewing.  There is a loneliness that claws its way into my soul when I see my wife sitting on the edge of her seat, cheering on someone I don’t know for some event I have no interest in.  I feel like the boy in the bubble, cursed to watch but never participate.

            But that’s just the loneliness of not being included in the “in-crowd.”  I’ve been asked to sit at the kids table during Thanksgiving dinner, banished from taking part in the adult conversation.  But is all this Olympic love really adult conversation?  How many people know more about the participants than I do?  Is all this excitement just awful side effects of the Red/White/Blue fever that grips them every four years, forcing them to sit and stare at the screen and pretend they care?  Without stories, without context, what do we have?  There is no villain to root against…well there is, but the villain is us, and the rest of the world gets off hating on our athletes.  And it used to be different.  We used to have the Führer, Communism or social wrongs to root against during the Olympic Games.  We loved crushing the Russian hockey team, loved watching John Carlos and Tommy Smith hold up their powerful fists.  Now what we have to watch are corporate logos and Michael Phelps swimming and some overpaid basketball players actually get called for travelling.  Not my idea of fun.         

Posted on: July 24, 2012 6:09 pm
 

Curse of Perspective

Nobody bats a thousand…Wait, that should read “Nobody bats a thousand over a representative sample size.”  Someone has most definitely batted a thousand over a sample size of a single hit.  I know I shouldn’t start with a cliché like that, but it really does help to start my point and allows me to counter the cliché with one of my favorite phrases; “representative sample size.”  Basically what I mean to say is we all need to have a little perspective.

 

Baseball rewards failure.  When a batter steps to the plate he’ll, if he’s an elite player, hit the ball and safely reach base 3 out of 10 times.  That means fans love cheering for players who fail 70% of the time.  Is that really something to cheer for?  Would you eat at a restaurant that only completed your order correctly 30% of the time?  Would you cheer for the student who answered a question correctly on a test 30% of the time?  Would you fly on an airline that only landed safely 30% of the time? No, you wouldn’t and anyone who would needs to stay away from me.  I want a little more than 30% of life and what it has to offer.

 

Baseball rewards failure.  Rickey Henderson is considered the greatest base stealer of all time and he only had an 81% success rate.  If the greatest neurosurgeon in the world had an 81% success rate I’m not letting him operate on me.  I refuse to be one of the 19 people to perish on his table.  I refuse to let the B-minus student take a scalpel to my head, because that’s what 81% is.  It’s a B-minus, good, but not great.  It means you are barely above average.  The greatest base stealer is, but percentage sake, no better than a barely above average student.

 

By this time, discerning readers have begun to figure out that there is something wrong with what I’m saying, that I can’t possibly believe what I’m saying.  I don’t.  Baseball doesn’t reward failure, but if you listen to what fans and media say about players you’d think it did.  I recently had a moment where I booed Carlos Beltran when he was introduced at the 2012 All-Star game.  I did it because I was disappointed that the San Francisco Giants traded away a top prospect for him and didn’t receive a playoff berth in return. I booed him for being a flop in SF and I was wrong to do it.  In 167 AB’s Beltran hit .323 with 7 HR’s, pretty damn good for 44 games of service.  He also waived a no-trade clause he had in his contract with the New York Mets in order to join the Giants.  I didn’t practice using perspective, and if I did I would have realized that the injury to Buster Posey combined the need to count on Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff to mimic their playoff success was praying for a second miracle instead of being thankful for the first one bestowed upon the team.  Beltran wasn’t a failure; he was just the vessel into which I poured my volcanic hate.  And that wasn’t fair.

 

Fans and media are quick to label players, call them great or a bust depending on a single play.  So many times I’ve heard some expert say that “Player X is batting over .400 in his last 10 AB’s.”  I’m sure I could find dozens of players who have hit .400 in a 10 AB stretch.  That doesn’t show any type of perspective; all that shows is an ability to manipulate stats to say whatever we want.  Clever if you want to fool a rube, not so much if the person actually thinks for a full minute about what’s being said.  There is a Latin phrase, post hoc ergo propter hoc (after it, therefore because of it), that says that because one event followed another the first event therefore instigated the second.  It’s also a logical fallacy, because sometimes the first event has nothing to do with the one that follows.  The trade for Carlos Beltran had nothing to do with why the Giants didn’t make the playoffs, and in fact the trade for him probably helped the Giants win more games than they would have without him on the team.  They failed because there were other weaknesses that weren’t addressed by the team, not because Beltran wasn’t good enough.

 

My statement that baseball rewards failure also doesn’t take into account the fact that baseball isn’t a one-on-one sport.  It’s more like a one-on-nine sport, and those numbers can climb higher depending on the umps working the game that night.  Once a hitter puts the ball into play, unless he hits it to a few select places on the field where the defense can’t reach it or pounds it over the fence, he has to scurry 90 feet before one of the defenders can throw the ball to the first baseman.  Very few students have to contend with nine other classmates trying to prevent them from getting the answer right on their test and very few surgeons have to deal with a large crowd of people heckling them while they try and settle down enough to make their first incision.

 

Baseball doesn’t really reward failure, but we scream and shout like it does, we curse out the TV, we might even throw things (although I have experiences with that, of course!)  But really, a lot of the problems with baseball, and sports in general, is a complete lack of perspective.  We all want to win today, but in a game that has only one championship trophy 29 fan-bases will end up being angry, sad and looking to lay blame.  And that’s when we tend to find someone we believe has been rewarded for failure, just like I blamed Beltran.

 

Baseball doesn’t reward failure, it rewards success.  If it truly rewarded failure then Alfonso Soriano would be a hot commodity on the trade market, Starlin Castro would be the highest paid short stop in the game and Eric Byrnes would have a lifetime contract with an MLB team (but that’s a blog for another day).

Posted on: July 16, 2012 2:52 pm
 

The Book of Reggie

Imagine, if you will, a man of faith who hears the story of a man who tells the truth, and receives punishment for it.  Imagine his words with me, imagine his fervor, imagine his message.

 

Before we leave here today, there’s something I have to get off my chest.  There is a certain…company, shall we call them, who is making a grave error with an employee.  And I thought, for our parting moment of wisdom, we could take a listen to a passage from the Book of Reggie:

There stood before us a pinstriped horse, the rider that sat upon him was named October, and Truth flowed from him.  And the power was given unto them to have a dissenting opinion and speak an ugly fact, to kill with frankness and morality, to ignore the urge to use a pretty lie.  And when he had answered the fourth estate with honesty, I looked and beheld the urine stains of those who had wet themselves at the sound of the Word not filtered to them by the Empire, not distilled through sterile talking points.  And for the testimony he gave, for not speaking a pretty lie, a digestible digression, they cried in a loud voice, they cried "Oh, Steinbrenners, holy and true, wilt thou not avenge our wounded and bruised pride on them that dare answer a query truthfully?"  And lo, there was a great earthquake, and the heavens stretched out as a scroll when it is unfurled, and the Word writ upon it was "Banishment," and all knew the great day of Their wrath had come, for when the ugly truth is spoken, who shall be able to stand?  When the punishment for free speech is banishment, who shall be able to stand?  When we have to fear retribution for words that cannot in any way be seen to offend who shall be able to stand?  When the Rulers of earth, the Great, the Rich, the Mighty hide themselves behind deflections and spin, when the bones are shaken to the root by the Truth, is it the Messenger who is at fault?  Or those who quiver in fear?  When the Truth is something to avoid, who shall be able to stand?

Remember, my children, don’t let the fear of retaliation keep you from answering a question truthfully, respectfully.  Can I get an Amen in the congregation? 

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 9, 2012 4:45 pm
 

Blind Resume: QB's

So much is made of stats, especially at the QB position, but I'm of the mind that names also help to shape the opinions of sports fans, as well as team affliation.  My wife is a huge Oakland Raiders fan, and so has a personal animus towards the Chiefs, Broncos and Chargers that bias' her against players on those teams.  I wanted to conduct a little social experiment to see what would happen if I took the names away and just left the stats?  Which of these QB's would you like to have on your team?

A. Starter for 6 years

Comp-1,672

Att-2,592

Comp %-64.5

Yards-20,834

Yds Per Pass-8.0

TD-149

INT-72

QB Rate-96.9

 

B. Starter for 8 years

Comp-1,930

Att-3,037

Comp %-63.5

Yards-24,285

Yds Per Pass-8.0

TD-163

INT-78

QB Rate-95.5

 

C. Starter for 8 years

Comp-2,291

Att-3,921

Comp %-58.4

Yards-27,579

Yds Per Pass-7.0

TD-185

INT-129

QB Rate-82.1

 

D. Starter for 7 years

Comp-1,137

Att-1,959

Comp %-58.0

Yards-12,543

Yds Per Pass-6.4

TD-68

INT-58

QB Rate-76.4

 
Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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