Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Most Entertaining Triple You Will See All Year

Twins back-up catcher Mike Redmond is known for being tough, and for being a pretty good hitter of the slap single to right field variety. He's an old grizzled vet who spends most of his time on the bench, backing up the best offensive catcher in recent memory. He is most definitely not known for his speed on the bases.

That's what made his triple against the Texas Rangers so damn entertaining. That, and the reaction from the Twins bench (Ron Gardenhire chuckling, and Carlos Gomez doing the worst dance/jumping thing I've seen lately) and from the wonderful Twins commentating team of Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven, which was a combination of surprise, pride, with a liberal dose of humor. As Bert notes in the clip, this is Redmond's first triple in about 6 years, and I believe one of three in his entire career.

It didn't lead to a score--in all ways it was inconsequential. But still--the single most entertaining triple you will see this year, bar none.

No, Bob Bradley, Not Expectedly Competitive

This weekend is the biggeset fantasy football drafting weekend EVER, so I assume I can be forgiven for focusing on The Deseret Barking Swarm, and their draft position. Sure, I'm sitting pretty with Aaron Rodgers, Michael Turner, Pierre Thomas, Ray Rice and Larry Fitzgerald. But whilst focusing on mediocre WR talent to draft, I've completely overlooked the fact that World Cup Qualifying is starting back up, and that the US will be back in action next weekend.

The US is playing El Salvador in Utah on September 5th, followed by a game on the road four days later in Trinidad. And the US finds itself in a bit of dogpile, with Honduras and Costa Rica ahead of them, with Mexico nipping at their heels. No one wants to finish 4th in the CONCACAF, because that squad has to play the 5th best team in South American (CONMEBOL) qualifying, and there is a chance that could be Argentina, of all teams.

Now I could go into how the World Cup isn't about assembling the top 64 teams to play in a tournament; how FIFA has determined that assembling teams from all across the world is better for world-wide ratings than having 40 teams from Europe, 10 from Asia, 10 from South America and 4 from Africa compete every year. Because if they were honest, that's probably how it would shake out most times. I'm not going to get into that. I'm only going to say that by separating North America and South America into separate components, they are trying to give the US and Mexican teams every chance they can to qualify.

It is the system, and by it is designed to have the the US and Mexico successfully make the World Cup Finals. Everyone knows this. EVERYONE knows this. So it rankles me when I see US Head Coach (clock ticking on that title) Bob Bradley saying, "As we expected, qualifying in this region is very competitive. Both El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago will be hungry to get points from these matches, and we have an opportunity to position ourselves well to secure a berth for South Africa.”

Who expected this region to be competitive? I know I didn't. I figured--Mexico, US, and then some other team, thrown in as a bone that would get rocked by a bunch of teams better than it, and head home proud to qualify--Costa Rica or Honduras. I certainly did not expect the US and Mexico fighting for the last spot of automatic qualifying in September, but here we are.

If everything goes to plan, the US will easily capture 6 points in its next two matches, but things have not gone according to plan a disheartening amount during this qualifying season. These six points would normally be a given, but given the track record of the US squad of late, it isn't as guaranteed as it should be.

But make no mistake--it shouldn't be an issue at all. Winning games in the Gold Cup and Confederations Cup are nice and all, but they don't contribute to our chances to qualify. World Cup Qualifiers are the games to win, and the US has games to win--games that shouldn't be pivotal, but are, because of their ineptitude in prior matches. If the US doesn't beat El Salvador in Salt Lake City on September 5th, expect a firing.

Greg Blache Has Grown Tired of Your Questions

via Shutdown Corner, an awesome exchange on the local Cable in DC. Greg Blache, the defensive coordinator, has sussed out that a question about evaluating the play of the defensive line is actually a backdoor to criticizing the play of the defensive line, and he's had enough.

Frankly, the question seems innocuous enough, and the fact that Ken Harvey, former Drunken Savage defensive bad-ass doesn't take the coach's side, and in fact, goes out of his way to kind of mock Blache, suggests that the coach has overreacted a bit. Or a lot. Either way, lots of fun.

I have to say, it is particularly unfair to mock a guy for reacting with an "Uhhh", when you have said something completely insane. DC Sports Bog, as per usual, has more detail on the incident.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Twins Find a Starter Maybe and Pick-up Some Relief

Going into the first night of the three game stand with the Texas Ranger, it might feel like the Twins have been about 4.5 games behind Detroit for an eternity, and that can get a bit disheartening. After all, Twins fans have watched their team get fat in the last 10 games, playing and winning series against Baltimore and Kansas City, going 7-3, with two of those losses coming in lopsided defeats at the hands of The Texas Rangers in Texas.

But doubters be damned, because the Twins bumped their 10 game record to 8-2, moved a full game past Chicago, and hung tight with Detroit on the strength of Brian Duensing, who appears to be the left-handed starter that the Twins expected to have in Glen Perkins or Francisco Liriano. Not that Duesning could be mistaken for either of those guys--he relies on a low 90's fastball and a variety of junk pitches. They worked tonight (one major caveat--Duensing was throwing a curve ball for strikes that could have been, in the eyes of another umpire, not strikes at all) and the free-swinging Rangers swung and missed a lot.

Regardless, Duensing, despite being on very tight pitch counts for all three of his major league starts is now 2-1, with his most recent performance being his most impressive--3 2/3 innings of no-hit ball, finishing 7 innings giving up only 3 hits and 1 run, while striking out 8. It is quite possible that the Twins, once again, have reached down to their minor league squad/bullpen and found a guy who can win them games.

The Twins should also be noted for putting together a line-up, top to bottom that can hit. I couldn't say that a month ago. They started a line-up that has six hitters hitting .275 or higher, and only one hitting below .260--Alexi Casilla, who is just above the Mendoza Line, but a month ago was 40 points below it, so you know he's been raking lately.

In addition to winning on Friday, the Twins decided to make address some pretty obvious bullpen issues, by signing veteran bullpen guys Jon Rauch and Ron Mahay. Some Twins fans have already given up on this team that is 4.5 games behind Detroit, even though they have 8 games against said Tigers left to play; even though they have by my count some 22 games against sub .500 clubs left to play--it is clear that the Twins themselves haven't given up yet. It will be a fine last month of the season.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jay Glazer, Scientist

We all remember how Sir Isaac Newton used potatoes to determine the heights of various objects, right? Sure.

Jay Glazer is bringing back the scientific method, hucking potatoes at the Dallas Cowboy video boards. If Jay can't throw a potato at it, than certainly a kicker can't regularly hit it (despite the fact that every kicker who been in the stadium has reported that they can and will).

Jay Glazer, scientist. Maybe he should get a cameo on Mythbusters, just huckin' potatoes at shit.

(tip of the cap to regular reader Black Freighter, who alerted me to this nonsense)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jason Aaron Talks 2009 Steelers

Do you know Jason Aaron? You should. Almost two years ago, we pimped his totally awesome comic book Scalped. Since then, Aaron talked sports with us, where his love of the Steelers came through. He also started a blog (Standard Attrition) that this blog thought was awesome. Essentially, we are very lucky when Jason takes some time to slum with us. And the best way to get him to slum with us is to ask him a ton of Pittsburgh Steeler questions.

Read on, as Jason plans for Zombie Alien defense, talks some shit at the Washington Drunken Savages, gets a little defensive about Charlie Batch, casually dismisses the ManGenius, references Tommy Maddox, and gives us the names of some young guns to keep your eyes on. Below follows our interview with Jason. Any photos, links, or videos are strictly the fault your editor, me. Interview commences...3...2... NOW!

Big Blue Monkey: In my initial email [to Aaron], I may have suggested that Hines Ward was no longer with the Steelers. I knew that to be a fact. Except that it clearly isn't. He's still a Steeler, and given the contract he was given, he will retire one. Last year, he had his best year in the past half decade or so--over 80 catches, over 1000 yards, close to 13 yards per reception, and 7 Touchdowns. Is Hines still the man of the receiving corps, even at age 33? (Staggering fact: I'm older than Hines Ward, despite the fact I've watched him play all my life. How does that happen?) Or is Santonio Holmes going to ride his incredible Super Bowl into the 2009-2010 season, and take the reins?

Aaron: Hines will always be The Man, as long as he’s still out there breaking linebackers’ jaws by blocking the shit out of them. Eventually though Holmes does need to step up and become the number one receiver. He just hasn’t done it yet. Yes, he made that amazing catch in the Super Bowl and big plays in both playoff games, but for long stretches in the regular season, he was really not much of a factor. He’s got all the ability in the world. I think he just needs to mature a bit more. Stuff like his LeBron James celebration in the Super Bowl (which should have been a penalty) shows he’s still a bit too immature to be The Man for the Steelers.

BBM: Is Limas Sweed ready to be a player in the NFL? Will the Steelers miss Nate Washington?

Aaron: If you go back and watch most of the Steelers’ regular season games last year (as I often do. Thank you, NFL Network), you’ll see Washington made lots of big plays for the team. Somebody’s going to have to fill that void. It might be Sweed, who looks like he’s making strides in his second season, or it might be rookie Mike Wallace, who can flat out fly. Or maybe they’ll just throw more to Heath Miller, the most under appreciated tight end in the league.

BBM: Bonus All-Time Pittsburgh Question: Is Hines Ward on his way to being the Best Pittsburgh Receiver of All Time? Top 3?)

Aaron: If you go by the numbers, he already is. And again his toughness is one of the qualities that has helped define this team for the last several years.

BBM: Everyone knows that Big Ben is back again, and coming off one hell of a season, but what happens if he misses a couple of games, which is not rare for him? Is Charlie Batch really the #2 in Pittsburgh? Can you say "Charlie Batch" without getting a cold shiver down your back? Do you think you will, at some point this upcoming season, utter the words, "I wish Byron Leftwich were here."

Aaron: What? Where have you been? Batch has been a terrific back-up for Pittsburgh. Now if it was Tommy Maddox back there, then I’d be getting cold shivers.

BBM: Who will be the #2 back on this squad? Will it be Mewelde Moore again, or does Rashard Mendenhall reclaim the excitement he had when he was drafted? Am I wrong to assume that Willy Parker is the #1 back?

Aaron: Mewelde Moore will be the third down back again, unless Parker can reclaim that job, which isn’t likely. Hopefully Willie can bounce back and have a big year. I just worry that maybe they ran the tires off him in 2006-2007. Backs who get a couple of those 300+ carry seasons in a row just don’t have a good track record of holding up. And the jury’s still out on Mendenhall. He hasn’t really shown anything.

BBM: Well, obviously, the Tomlin-led Steelers have a great defense, per Steelers expectations, and last year's Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison turned in one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history. Do you foresee yet another breakout player coming from that side of the ball?

Aaron: The Steelers lost two starters on defense, but should actually still be better than they were a year ago, because the two new starters both played extensively last year and look to have big upsides. Especially keep your eye on new inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons. He looks to be the kind of pass-rushing beast the Steelers haven’t had inside since Kendrell Bell’s first few healthy seasons. And on the outside opposite Harrison, Lamarr Woodley should only get better. Last year was his first as a starter, and he had 11.5 sacks and then added another 6 in the playoffs [Editor's Note: Aaron completely predicted Woodley's success last year]. Assuming the ageless-one James Farrior can keep it going, this should be one of the best groups of Steelers linebackers ever. And that’s saying something.

BBM: On paper, The Steelers are clearly the class of the AFC North. Who will be the stiffest competition within the division? If you say Cleveland, please explain in detail.

Aaron: Yeah, Cleveland, right. Mangini. Nice hire. Good luck with that. The North will come down to the Steelers and the Ravens again. All three games they played last year were brutal nailbiters, and you wouldn’t expect this year to be any different.

at this point, I turned the questions over to fellow IDYFT'ers:

Miwacar: How does Troy Polamalu rate for you in the long, illustrious line of great Steeler defenders?

Aaron: I think if Troy keeps playing the way he has been, then no doubt he’s a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game. People always talk about Ed Reed as the best in the game today, but I don’t see any other safety who does as much for their team as Polamalu. The dude is just all over the field.

Miwacar: Who are your favorite defensive players and why?

Aaron: Easy. Jack Lambert and Greg Lloyd. Two of the toughest, nastiest linebackers to ever play the game. If aliens ever invade or zombies ever take over the earth, those are the first two guys I'm calling to recruit to fight for my side.

James Harrison is close behind. He's gotta be the scariest defender in the league today. Just ask that Cleveland fan he decked on the field a few years ago. Imagine how much of a terror he'd be if he wasn't getting held almost every down.

Andrew Wice: Congratulations on a sixth Superbowl for your Steelers. I was born in Pittsburgh in 1974 (they won that season) and have always been a fan, though I'm a Redskins fan to the marrow. I do dig the way the Steelers win their Superbowls: hard running, great WRs, a winner at QB and the motherfuckingestdefense around.

Question: Are the Steelers RBs, talented though they are, too fragile? They ranked 23rd in rushing in 2008.

Aaron: Maybe they seemed fragile because they were getting hit in the backfield too much. Yeah, their top two backs were both injured last year, but the real reason they struggled to run the ball was the offensive line. The Steelers just don’t have a very good one. Jut look at how bad they were on short yardage. They were horrible. Or watch their game against the Eagles from last season. Jesus, that was hard to sit through. I think the Eagles sacked Big Ben at least 87 times. Maybe the o-line will be better this year, since a lot of them were new faces last year. I hope so, because there’s no way Ben can keep doing what he’s doing, taking hit after hit like he has the last couple years. The Steelers just can’t keep relying on Ben to run around like a madman and pull magic out of his ass at the last second. They won so many games like that last year. Imagine what they can do if they just get some semblance of a running game going?

Andrew Wice: Last year, the Steelers weathered the hardest schedule. This year, they have an easier schedule. Will that make them softer in the postseason? follow-up: is this a bullshit question?

Aaron: I don’t see Mike Tomlin letting these guys get soft. And when you’re the defending champs, you got a bullseye on your chest every week, no matter who you’re playing.

Andrew Wice: the Steelers play against Washington in the second game of the (pre) season (8/22). How many points will the Steelers lose by?

Aaron: Oh sorry, that game has come and gone now, and oh look, the Redskins did win. Enjoy that victory though because by the looks of the Washington offense, they won’t be winning a whole lot more. (Editor's Note: That's just mean, Jason Aaron. Prove him wrong, Washington Area Drunken Savages!)

Andrew Wice: Final Question: the Steelers return 20 of 22 starters from the championship team. What could keep them from repeating, besides injuries?

Aaron: The offensive line. They have to open some holes in the running game. There’s too much talent on this offense for them not to be an elite squad. On the plus side, the Steelers look to finally have some burners to return kicks, including little 5 ft. 7 in. spitfire Stefan Logan, so if the o-line just holds up its end of the deal, this team could easily be better than last year’s Super Bowl winning squad.

Thanks to Jason Aaron for a great look at the Steelers in 2009. Be sure to read his shit. You think he's entertaining talking about football, you should see him when he's writing about the FBI, Tribal Cops, and corrupt leaders on the Rez. Go buy a copy of Scalped, already!

We're Big in Japan*

*Or we just have a buddy in Japan who bought a bunch of shirts and put them on his badass Japanese friends. Hey pal, what have you sold to Japan lately? If you want to be like cool tattooed Japanese people (and who doesn't?) or if you want to stake your claim as an IDYFT otaku, you can peruse and purchase our apparel here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, New Order!

I don't care how un-sportsblog this is. I love this song.

Dear Rick Pitino:

Please don't blame the media for what your wife is going through. You did it, you are a public figure. End of story. Also, please don't use the ghost of the Ted Kennedy to get the media to feel bad about their treatment of you.

One thing Teddy knew about was how to rise above a scandal, and continue on to do great work for America.

In short, Rick Pitino, you are a very successful, kind of sleazy basketball coach, and have been for a few decades. And that's all you've ever been. Don't even implicitly compare yourself to Teddy Kennedy. Thank you.

Big Blue Monkey

Free Fantasy Football With Jesus Prizes

Just like we did last year, we will be offering up a Fantasy Football League, and a NFL Pick'em challenge.

First up, the Fantasy Football League. It's free to play, relatively painless to draft and with prizes of a sort in the offing.

To sign up, Click here. Then, click the "Sign Up Now" or "Get Another Team" button and follow the links to "Join a Custom League". When prompted, enter the League ID# and password below.

League ID#: 760508
Password: warburton

Jerry Jones: Giant TVs Are Like Forces of Nature

If I were one to gamble on the effectiveness of arguments, I'd be betting against this one. Mark Maske over at the Washington Post is reporting that the NFL's competition committee is looking into the new Dallas Stadium scoreboards, and the fact that they are huge, and are rigged up relatively low to the ground (only ninety feet).

Jerry Jones seems unconcerned, and with his well established abilities at bullshitting, who can blame him? But if Maske is accurately representing Jones' argument, Jerry might want to stick this one back in the oven. Maske writes that Jones believes that "the video boards present an element with which punters must deal just as they must deal with wind, rain or other weather conditions."

I'm having a hard time coming up with one attribute that those things share. They are both made of atoms? Differences are easier.

1. Unless the Weather Wizard has rolled into town or the HAARP is being pointed at Texas' ionsphere, weather is a naturally occuring phenomenon. Giant video boards hanging 30 yards above a field that has punts traveling via high-arcing parabolas are not naturally occuring. It takes a self-promoting jackass to makes those happen.

2. Weather is permeable. Footballs are hampered by wind, rain, and snow, but they travel through them regardless. Footballs don't bounce off of rain drops. Footballs do bounce off of poorly planned video boards hanging 30 yards above a field.

3. Weather is sent by God. Giant Video Boards are paid for by dudes who just think they are God.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

RIP Ted Kennedy


A great man gone today. There are going to be beautifully written eulogies, and well-researched biographical sketches that will describe better than I ever could why he was such an important person in our history.

I'll just say that I happen to see him speak when I was in high school, and between him and the late Senator Wellstone, there could not have been two better examples for a young budding liberal in the middle of Bush Senior country to experience. He obviously will be missed.

Twins Win 5th in a Row--AL Central Officially a Dogpile

The Twins win their fifth game with a walk-off single from Delmon Young (his fourth hit of the game), and overcame some spotty pitching to beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-6.

You want to talk about an important player in this game, and I'm as shocked as anyone that I'm about to say this: "Jesse Crain". A well-deserved target for criticism for much of the season, Jesse Crain came into a game in the 7th inning after the Twins had crawled back from a 6-3 deficit by scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Crain came out and pitched two innings of perfect ball--six up, six down and looked pretty damn dominant. He gave up a double in the top of the 9th, but not on a bad pitch at all. Consider that prior to Crain's entrance, the Twins had used three pitchers (Gabino, Humber, and Keppel) through six innings and all three had given up at least one run, and none of them had managed to finish three innings. Crain's dominance was surprising, and hugely important to a team that had been coming from behind all game long.

The Twins are now 63-63, tied with the White Sox--both will find themselves either 3.5 or 4.5 games behind Detroit depending on what happens to the Tigers in Anaheim (as of now, the game is tied in the sixth inning. These three teams play each other a sick amount the last two weeks of the season. The AL Central is an absolute dogpile, and that's a good deal better than it being a division that the Tigers run away with.

Newest Mauer Backer: Jeff Passan

Since he is agreeing with me, I'll not pass judgement on the opening conceit of his column--writing poems about Mauer. I will however, alert Andrew Wice, haiku expert, that there is a haiku in the opening paragraphs of the column that he may wish to read (and savage in the comments).

Plax the Greek

Thanks whatever ... As he was walking upstairs, Burress said he missed a step while walking and the gun began to slide down his pant leg. Burress said he reached to stop it from hitting the ground when he accidentally pulled the trigger through his pants.

"My finger hit, like, right on the trigger," he said. "What are the odds on that happening?"

Odds of that happening are about 1 to 1 when the safety is off and there is a round in the chamber. You fucking retard.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fun With the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement

Here's a pretty good article about the current state of negotiations between the NFL Players Association and the NFL Owners from the NY Times. I wanted to scrawl some knee-jerk reactions to the article, but decided to perform a little research in hopes of fleshing things out for our loyal readers. Well, after some additional reading I still just have knee-jerk reactions, but they are now based on both the NY Times article and some poking around I did on the internet.

First, I elected to take a peek at the existing NFL collective bargaining agreement, which you can find at the woefully lame NFL PA website. The fucking thing is 361 pages long. As much as I'd like to write a post that is erudite and compelling, I'm not fucking reading that document on a Sunday.

I will, however, skim that document on a Sunday. Especially to read Article XI entitled "Commissioner Discipline." If new NFL PA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is worth his salt, he'll take a swipe at Commissioner Roger Goodell's unfettered discretion to mete out player punishments.

Goodell can punish players for conduct he deems "detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence in, the game of professional football." So, pretty much anything he, as representative of the owners, doesn't like. The player or NFL PA may then appeal the punishment, well...Goodell or someone Goodell designates. Goodell then issues a written final decision that is binding on everyone, period (including the teams themselves).

In a great demonstration of the distrust and insidiousness involved in player discipline, there is specific language preventing the Commissioner from increasing the penalty on appeal. Without being too much of a drama queen, that looks to me like some pretty despotic power vested in a dude who seriously influences the flow of a lot of dollars.

What's more, Goodell hasn't given us a much of an indication as to what standards he employs in punishing players. There is a reasonably interesting question presented by the different punishments of Plaxico Burress, Donte Stallworth and Michael Vick. The answer for those three gentlemen rests on differences in controlling laws for the respective crimes, but with player discipline the only control is Goodell.

Eventually Goodell will hurt himself because he hands out punishments without explanation. He'll misread public perception when concocting a future punishment, and will not be able to quell backlash by citing to a clear record. However, mitigating employee discipline is a core function for any union, and Executive Director Smith would serve his union by making this a collective bargaining issue and not waiting to benefit from a future Goodell misstep.

Second, I tracked down this press release from, by it's own description, about a year ago (why can't they just list the date it was released?). The release is from the NFL owners, and provides their initial public justification for opting out of a collective bargaining agreement that would have expired in 2012. Instead, the owner's would like to negotiate an agreement that expires in 2011, because, they claim, the economic realities of the game do not support current player salaries.

Financial records for NFL teams are virtually inaccessible, save for some limited information that leaks out after Owner requests for taxpayer-subsidized building projects and from the league's only "publicly-owned" team the Green Bay Packers (if there is more financial information, it is woefully inaccessible and under reported). The best demonstration of the "Owner Who Cried Wolf" I can come up with after some lazy and incomplete research is from that same Packer team.

The Packers recently renovated Lambeau Field for $295 Million in 2003. After five tumultuous years of post-construction financial uncertainty (sarcasm added), the Packers profited $20.1 Million dollars in 2008 despite spending eighty percent of "new revenue" on player costs since 2006 (from the NY Times article).

Any business with recent multi-million dollar renovations plus significant diversions to employee salaries plus $20 million in profits is a model business, and not one that should be considering hard bargaining to the point of a potential lockout.

If "new revenue" and "old revenue" still keep the franchise afloat, competitive and profitable, then suggestions of hardship based on player salaries should not be entertained by fans who spend significant dollars to attend games or support professional football as avid viewers (i.e. sponsor supporters).

The third point is a less important personal opinion: that professional sports' stand as an unfortunate proxy for understanding actual labor-management relations to most working class folks. Most media outlets make it easy to dislike organized labor in any form, and that dislike is easier to understand if economies of scale are out of touch with common economic realities. As a result, organized labor suffers from affiliation with professional sports. Here is how the current situation will provide fuel.

Evidence of the pending lockout from the NY Times is that Labor awaits a proposal, but management responds that they've conveyed proposals informally on numerous occasions. Proposals, by their nature, will be more effective if the proposee understands that an actual proposal has been proposed. In other words, the NFL Owners are delaying negotiations but pretending to have offered informal ideas that the other side should have understood as serious proposals to amend a meticulously crafted 361-page collective bargaining agreement (a little more sarcasm added).

NFL Owners will likely benefit by shortening the existing agreement and taking negotiations to the edge of a work stoppage. NFL Players will likely be demonized as the greedy actors who would destroy a commonly loved product for personal gain.

And that's the part that sucks: nuance will be lost because you'll lose access to your beloved NFL due to labor issues. Most folds will be too fucking pissed too care. A demonstration of union power will ultimately cost hours of Sunday afternoon entertainment, with no lip service paid to the actual need for an employee-based push back.

You'll probably end up antiquing on Sunday afternoons. It will be the fault of the union.

Screw You, Kyle!

Kyle Orton was already getting booed during training camp. After throwing 3 interceptions in his first preseason game, the hackles were raised a bit more. And well, after this showing (and yes, 12 seconds of pre-season game, we are rightfully claiming fair use here) Denver fans saw some good things--Orton was efficient completing "18-of-26 passes for 182 yards with a touchdown."

But I bet this is the play that Denver fans remember:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Torry Holt Has Nightmare Fingers

Thanks to ESPN's Chris Mortenson, I've learned that Torry Holt's fingers are fucked up.

Thanks, Mort.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dick Bremer Attacked By A Pterodactyl

Dick Bremer and Creepy Massage Enthusiast Ron Coomer were wrapping up the Twins vs Kansas City, which featured a rare Joe Nathan blown save, and a rare Joe Nathan win.

By the way, how rare is Joe Nathan blowing a save against the Royals? Here's La Velle Neal of the Star Trib, dropping science: "Nathan entered the season with 30 saves and a career 0.81 ERA against the Royals and hadn't given up a run in five outings against them this season."

Anyway, Bremer and Coomer were wrapping up the game, and specifically, praising the bottom of the Twins hitting order, when Bremer was attacked! ATTACKED! By, according to Coomer, a "pterodactyl". Turns out, it was just a big ass grasshopper. Of all the days for Bert Blyleven to be on vacation--you know he would have eaten that fucking thing without a second thought.

Here's your Pterosaur, with shitty filming by me, and IDYFT contributor miwacar reacting incredulously to the Coomer's use of "pterodactyl". You want the audio, you'll probably have to crank your volume.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

19.19 Is More Impressive Than 9.58

I mean, really. Holy Shit. They are both incredibly impressive, world-record, field-dominating finishes for Usain Bolt. The 9.58 in the 100 meter was simply sick, and prompted Michael Johnson, (a guy who knows about domination in sprints) to suggest that that Bolt could be unbeatable. (And that Bolt could break the 19 second barrier in the 200)

ESPN News just had a Larry Rawson on and he took Bolt's 200 time and broke the first 40 yards to make it an NFL Combine time. NFL followers know what is fast--4.2, 4.3, that kind of time is a speedster. Rawson's math puts Bolt's first 40 yards of a race more than 5 times that long at 3.82. That's ridiculous. And he's 6' 5". I bet Al Davis is calling him right now.

I'm going to use some much more basic math to explain my headline. In the 200, they don't talk splits, but they should, especially when 100 meter specialists are running it. The 200 isn't a straight track--you've got to know how to run the curve, and it isn't easy. Even the best 200 meter sprinters don't make up the stagger 2 or 3 lanes out in the first 50--Bolt did.

But here's my basic math--take that 19.19 time, and split it. It comes to 9.595, which is just a shade off of Bolt's 100 meter time of 9.58. It is possible he ran the curve faster than anyone else has ever run a straight-ahead 100 meter dash? That seems impossible, but it is either that, or his straightaway part of the 2oo meter was something like a 9.3. No matter how you break down that 200 time, it seems nothing short of impossible. Let's put it another way--double his 100 meter time, and that comes to 19.16. It is mindblowing that his 200 meter time is so close to that. I don't know if anyone beside Usain Bolt is going to break the records he is setting. And I think he will be breaking both of them. I don't know about sub 19 for the 200, but I'm guessing his 100 meter will drop to like 9.53 before this decade is done. And his records will stand for a few decades.

Watch it, and see how hard he dusted a field of the best 200 meter runners in the world (relevant 19.19 seconds start at the 1:05 mark). Thank you European TV, for not being dicks about the rights, maybe?

Nerd Alert: John Scalzi is Writing for AMC

John Scalzi is an award-winning "genre" writer--in that he writes science fiction that neatly deconstructs military culture. He's also a hilarious, intelligent, profane blogger (which appeals to me). While a lot of people find his Being Poor post his most "important" post, I happen to love his trip to the Creationist Museum.

Apparently, he's been writing columns for the AMC website for a few months now. No one fucking told me that. I've got weeks and weeks of columns to go through. And so do you if you know what's good for you.

Whether he's grading sci-fi movies by their explosions, looking for the Hugo Nominee book most likely to be made into a movie, or deciding which computers were evil and which were simply misunderstood, he's a fun read--it's like having your smart buddy come up with ridiculous topics and trick you into being interested in them.

His most recent column, which apparently has some nerds all up in arms, is an inventory of the design failures in Star Wars. It is awesome. I'll quote one, and note that when a character notes the design flaw, it is pretty hard to argue that it isn't a design flaw:

Stormtrooper Uniforms
They stand out like a sore thumb in every environment but snow, the helmets restrict view ("I can't see a thing in this helmet!" -- Luke Skywalker), and the armor is penetrable by single shots from blasters. Add it all up and you have to wonder why stormtroopers don't just walk around naked, save for blinders and flip-flops.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Joe Mauer Has Got to Be Your MVP

It all started with New York Times blogger Tyler Kepner, who tweeted that Mark Teixeira was obviously the American League’s most valuable player.

This drew rapid responses from
ESPN's Rob Neyer and all-around writin' bad ass Joe Posnanski. They both make good points, but I like the way Posnanski puts it best:

Joe Mauer is having a much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much better season than Mark Teixeira. I’m not sure I put enough muches in there. Mauer is on pace to win his THIRD batting title as a catcher — and no other American League catcher has ever won even one. He leads the league in on-base percentage AND slugging percentage, the two most important stats going, and the only catcher to ever do that in baseball history was … oh, wait, nobody. He throws out base runners and hits .395 with runners in scoring position (hits .457 with runners in scoring position and two outs) and even runs the bases well.

When those kinds of points come out and stab you, you backtrack a bit,
as Kepner did. "Mauer is a compelling candidate. He leads the league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, he’s batting .378, and he’s an outstanding defensive catcher on a team that is (sort of) contending. He’s a terrific candidate."

But take a second--Kepner tossed out that .378 as if isn't that big of a deal. No one hits .378 this late in the year, and certainly catchers don't. That stat alone should be eye-popping. Not "compelling". Eye-popping. OBP and Slugging? Just leading the league. Nice stats, but not definitive, or so Kepner makes it sound.

And in the end, he kind of stands his ground: "Teixeira is the most productive player on the team with baseball’s best record. He leads the league in total bases and extra-base hits. He won two games in June with his base running (June 2, with a takeout slide, and June 12, after Luis Castillo’s dropped pop-up), and his defense has been off the charts."

Let me just say that you start talking about takeout slides and base running thanks to a competing team's fielding error, you've lost the argument.

Kepner concludes with "Teixeira is having an exceptional season. There is no disputing that." Well, hold on--there is some dispute there--he's having a fine season, no doubt. Hitting almost .290 with 30 homeruns is a very good year from your first baseman. Is it "exceptional"? Because Justin Morneau is right there with him in just about every category. How exceptional can it be if two other players are right there with him? (Morneau and Miguel Cabrera are right there with him.)

I don't know what we have to do--make a new award? Call it "Best Player" and have the players vote on it? Because make no mistake--Joe Mauer is having a season that is for the ages, quite literally. Stat-head extraordinaire Aaron Gleeman has a great post with Top Catchers Offensive Stats. Joe Mauer is Top 5 in all of them, including Average, OPS, OBP, and Slugging. There is one other catcher from the late 20th century with him on some of those categories--Mike Piazza. Aside from him, there isn't a single catcher on the leaderboard for any of those categories who played after World War Two. This isn't a once in a generation season, it's a once in a century season for a catcher, or for any other position, really. Joe Mauer is going to win his third batting title, more than double his homeruns from his previous career best, and is behind the plate for a young, struggling rotation, complete with a knuckleballer in the bullpen for a good chunk of the season. And Joe is doing it for a team that is competing for a pennant, despite going more than half the year without anyone in the 2 hole with the best 3 hole hitter in the past decade or two. Writers might not notice it in flyover country, but I guarantee you Joe Mauer would get the vote of every pitcher and every catcher in the league for what he's done.

Hell, Mark Teixeira would probably vote for him if it were "Most Outstanding Player" instead of Most Valuable Player.

This is Fucking Awesome! An Unreported Perspective

Here in Packer-land we've been instructed to fall into one of two camps with respect to Mr. Favre electing to play on the other side of the Mississippi River.

One band is fully outraged over the Betrayal. (I'm capitalizing Betrayal in hopes of landing this event in NFL folklore alongside the Drive and the Catch). This disgruntled group understands that Favre is likely just trying to slap Ted Thompson, but can't forgive the attendant slap to the Green Bay faithful. You will be able to identify this group at Lambeau Field on November 1st by their vehement booing of the player wearing number four in purple.

The other group understands and agrees with the Betrayal. (I'll accept nominations for a more perfect betrayal. I can't imagine a better example of a golden boy savior taking up arms with a genuinely hated rival.). These glass-half-full do gooders assume Brett should keep plying his trade in his old age if he is capable. They are able to enjoy watching Brett play no matter the color of his stripes. You will be able to identify this group at Lambeau Field on November 1st by their smug applause for the guy who will still retire a Packer.

Since there is a common assumption that Favre's presence in Minnesota will be a boon to the Purple, there is no service paid to the idea that Favre in Minnesota is an unequivocal boon to Green and Gold. The best part of Disliking Your Favorite Team, after all, is enjoying the spectacle when your favorite team causes you particular pain. Good old fashioned schadenfreude makes this whole scenario a guaranteed success for all Packer fans.

My perspective, the This is Fucking Awesome! perspective, offers a third tent.

The super-scientific IDYFT Interactive Poll asks if glory, ignominy or indifference will be the legacy of Favre's tenure in Minnesota. Packer fans: realize any of the three results would be fucking awesome. Here's why.

Initially, there is little more gratifying than seeing a hated rival with unusually high expectations have their hopes dashed. Think Gary Anderson in the 1998 NFC Championship game.

Okay, now assume the first result: glory. With a great offensive line, running back and pass rush already in place, the addition of Favre has suddenly made the Vikings a reasonably sexy pick for Super Bowl glory. The turning of internet tubes towards the North Star has been a story in and of itself, and the expecatations of Viking fans are undoubtedly buoyed by the increased attention.

The presence of Favre, however, will present a poison pill if ultimate glory is achieved. Homerism for the Purple and enjoyment of Brett Favre as a football player could not have existed in the same person prior to August 18, 2009. He was as profound a baffle in Minnesota as he was a hero in Wisconsin.

Knowing that the Vikings needed help from "he who has caused great pain over sixteen years" to win their first Super Bowl would be fucking awesome for Packer fans.

The other side of the coin, ignominy, provides joy for obvious reasons. Watching our over-the-hill cast off leave a deep scar that requires a lengthy heal is fucking awesome for reasons that need not be enumerated.

However, when I throw my dart at the reasonable expectation dartboard, I hit "NFC Championship" for Vikings fans. Favre is a profound upgrade at the Viking's weakest position, but he is also a gunslinger who usually loses games through too much gunslinging. If Brad Childress doesn't run the offense with a good amount of discipline, the worst of Favre will occasionally shine through and create a pretty flashy offense with some serious self destructive tendencies.

The likely result, an indifferent eleven win season plus one in the playoffs, will probably not be enough to declare the Favre experiment a success. It will be a fun season for Minnesota fans, but will leave them wondering what is the answer at quarterback?

Ultimately, it will smell a lot in Minnesota like it did in Kansas City after the brief Joe Montana era. Montana's two playoff appearances and one AFC Championship game will outshine Favre's eventual record as a Viking. The Vikings will waste two good years of Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen without developing a good young talent at quarterback or bringing home any hardware.

If that happens, and Minnesota continues to spin its non-Super Bowl having wheels, it too will be pretty fucking awesome.

Dear Urban Tornado: Stop Stealing Brett Favre's Thunder

IDYFT Interactive Poll

With everyone else on the planet weighing in on Brett Favre joining the Vikings, it seemed appropriate to ask the IDYFT family what they thought. After all, we are the most clever, good-looking, prescient and delightful of sports fans. I promise I will not release the results of this informal poll to the Department of Homefield Security.

Please reveal your hyperbolic prediction in the comments section. Then I can make a graph or pie chart or Bill Cosby sweater out of the results.

Brett Favre has reneged his retirement for the third time. Now he is joining the Vikings. From the Vikings' point of view ...

1. This will take the Vikings deep into the playoffs, probably to the Superbowl.
2. This will destroy the Vikings this year, get Childress fired and slam shut the team's window of opportunity for the next ten years.
3. This will neither help them make the playoffs nor hinder them next year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Donovan McNabb is Now A Respected Elder Statesman

The very idea of McNabb being respected! That's funny!

Not because Donovan McNabb shouldn't be a respected elder statesman of QB-ing. He should be. But it is funny that the press has now decided that he's good people, and his word is bond when it comes to Vick.

Why, if just scratch my chin, and have wavy lines obscure my face, you'll see me flashbacking to a different time--way back in September of 2007, when Donovan was a black racist against Gregg Doyel, and other white people.

I remember, back then, Donovan was a washed up racist! Surely, he still hates white people, yeah?

Here's my favorite bit from the Gregg Doyel time machine. Two years ago, whilst ripping Donovan McNabb, he said:

McNabb is myopic. He thinks he has it rough? Try being Rex Grossman, the quarterback of the Chicago Bears, who gets ripped even as he is leading the Bears to the Super Bowl. The next two most critiqued quarterbacks in the NFL are probably the Jets' Chad Pennington and the Giants' Eli Manning. All three are white.

Both Rex Grossman and Chad Pennington are barely holding onto to roster spots as we move into 2009. Eli Manning has gotten paid so much that it will probably lead to a huge labor dispute in 2011. Donovan McNabb just keeps on going.

Nice Try Joe Maddon, We Know Who You Are

Big League Stew reports that Joe Maddon has dyed his hair, in order to motivate his team. Sure that's what Maddon says, but we say, "No dice". He's clearly trying to distance himself from his time-traveling avatar from Public Radio, Ira Glass, as we proved without a doubt some time ago.

It only stands to reason that as Glass goes gray, Maddon goes black, to obscure, to obfuscate, even The TRUTH. Nice try, "Joe".

Last Gasp of the Twins, Or a Resurgence?

The Twins won tonight against the Rangers. It was somewhat noteworthy that they did it without Justin Morneau (who was the second player on the Twins roster to be sidelined by an Inner Ear Infection. If I were a conspiracy theorist, which I am, I'd blame Used Coffin Salesman Bud Selig for it--I can only presume he's found a way to sneak Waltzing Mice DNA into the Twins players whilst they sleep. He hasn't gotten to Joe Mauer because Mauer doesn't sleep--he just goes to his room and practices his swing all night long). The Twins also lost slugger Jason Kubel in the first inning with a foul ball off his surgically repaired knee.

What makes this game particularly noteworthy is the way the Twins won--they once again got nothing but a lead to overcome from a starter--this time Carl Pavano, who pitched only four innings, giving up 5 runs. The Twins, this month, don't win in that situation. Prior to this game, the Twins have won four games in August. In those games, the Twins have outscored their opponent a combined 39 runs to 2. Seriously! Tonight was the first close game they've won since their 3 game sweep of Chicago back in late July. The Twins have rallied to make games interesting, but somewhat interesting losses don't actually help in the standings.

So, here we are, with the Twins on the precipice--the starting pitching still sucking, Morneau and Kubel possibly out, and the Tigers with a very real lead in the standings. That said--Mauer has been incredible, somehow raising his average from a pedestrian .360 to a pretty good .380 by repeatedly going 3-4 with power (two homeruns tonight). Delmon Young has come around, as I have long argued he would. The bullpen has been remarkable in both losing and winning efforts over the past week or so. The only piece not falling into place is the starting rotation. And make no mistake, that piece has to, has to fall into place. It has, very, very sporadically done its job--and when it does, the Twins offense is more than up to the job.

So we will see--was this the last gasp of a motivated but under-talented bullpen? Will the starters pick it up for a bit? Will Delmon Young and Joe Mauer carry the weight until Morneau gets back? I'm guessing I'll be disappointed by the end of the season, but for one night at least, the Twins played like the Twins (in a good way).

Dave Zirin on Allen Iverson

Dave Zirin on what is next for AI, and what his image/struggle/comments/ability have meant to the NBA. As a Georgetown fan, I was fully embracing the fearless Iverson and his "controversies" well before he took a shitty Philly squad to the finals.

But Zirin writes as well as anyone could about what Iverson was about, and what was projected on him: "The AI debates don't merely challenge the artificial divide between sports and politics: they openly and proudly mock them: what effect does "hip hop culture" have on the game? Why is one man's entourage another man's posse? How do we explain the dress code, the age requirements, the media scrutiny, and all the latent -- or even open -- hostility between new jack players and the commissioner's office, the press, and the people NBA commissioner David Stern calls "The ticket buying fans"? AI was at the center of all of these storms. And he did it with style and substance: the most dominant six footer in NBA history with the tats to match."

You don't read Zirin? You should. Also, courtesy of Zirin, is some evidence of Iverson the Bad Guy Who Almost Gangsterfied the League, crying as he talks about his Scholarship program:

Rebecca Gayheart, Don't You Steal Favre's Thunder

Oh, OK--go ahead. "While no one is seen performing sexual acts, the three are seen nude in the video." That should drive some traffic.

Brett Favre!

Brett...... Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Favre Favre
Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Favre Favre
Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Favre Favre
Brett Retired???? Yes-no! Brett Favre!!!
Brett Favrey Favrey Favrey Favrey NFC Champ I-N-T
Brett Favrey Favrey Favrey Favrey kid out there when he's winning

Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Favre Favre
Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Favre Favre
Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Favre Favre
Brett's a Viking take that GBP!

Holy Sweet Monkey Balls! Brett Favre!

Oooh, baby, this thing is happening! It's happening!

Mark Rosen, I owe you an apology.

Local Minnesota broadcasters looking for new ways to talk about how Brett Favre loves the game? We've got you covered. (Seriously, someone should at least use the line about how Favre loves the game like a gorilla in a zoo loves his kitten. Just once, somebody.)

[Long labored joke about Tricks or Treats in October redacted]

Newer Posts Older Posts Home