Sunday, August 30, 2009
The Most Entertaining Triple You Will See All Year
No, Bob Bradley, Not Expectedly Competitive
Greg Blache Has Grown Tired of Your Questions
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Twins Find a Starter Maybe and Pick-up Some Relief
Friday, August 28, 2009
Jay Glazer, Scientist
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Jason Aaron Talks 2009 Steelers
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: 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.
We're Big in Japan*
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen, New Order!
Dear Rick Pitino:
Free Fantasy Football With Jesus Prizes
League ID#: 760508
Jerry Jones: Giant TVs Are Like Forces of Nature
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
RIP Ted Kennedy
Twins Win 5th in a Row--AL Central Officially a Dogpile
Newest Mauer Backer: Jeff Passan
Plax the Greek
"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
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 to...um, 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!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Torry Holt Has Nightmare Fingers
Friday, August 21, 2009
Dick Bremer Attacked By A Pterodactyl
Thursday, August 20, 2009
19.19 Is More Impressive Than 9.58
Nerd Alert: John Scalzi is Writing for AMC
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
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."
This is Fucking Awesome! An Unreported Perspective
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
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
Nice Try Joe Maddon, We Know Who You Are
Last Gasp of the Twins, Or a Resurgence?
Dave Zirin on Allen Iverson
Rebecca Gayheart, Don't You Steal Favre's Thunder
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!