Showing posts sorted by relevance for query charchian. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query charchian. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bad Media Helps a Bad Stadium Deal

The Vikings Stadium is going to be built, at a phenomenal cost to the taxpayers, in some ratio that we don't fully understand yet. (And I'm not using "we" in that Royal Blogger sense--I'm using it in the sense of "no one in the world really knows how these costs are going to break down.) What we do know is that some combination of gambling (taxes on the poor that they choose to pay, therefore, not really taxes) or through "user fees" (a term invented to give cover to politicians who promised to never raise taxes), citizens of the state of Minnesota (and particularly those in Minneapolis) are going to be paying for a private enterprise's stadium for years and years and...let's just say decades to come.

If you wanted to pinpoint the exact moment that the momentum of disinterested, kinda fans who weren't crazy about a new stadium got completely bulldozed, it was the meeting Roger Goodell (titled by the local news media, in a odd moment of anti-hype, as "NFL Nudge") put together when he flew into town, gathered legislators behind closed doors, and flew out of town, leaving behind a bunch of panicky idiots where once stood at least somewhat principled legislators.

Paul Allen: Conflict of what?  photo by Nick Vlcek*
Prior to that meeting, most of the fear-mongering was coming from the sports opinion writers and, in particular, the ridiculous idiocy of KFAN. A special award for boosterism and fear-mongering has to be given out to Paul Allen's mid-morning show. Never did that show waste an opportunity to use the phrase "Los Angeles Vikings"; never did they fail to impugn the intelligence of any caller who suggested that maybe Paul Allen, who is the official play-by-play man for the Vikings on that exact same radio station might appear somewhat biased in his one-sided commentary.

Sports has an advantage in news coverage a lot of the time. There are box scores; there are definite events that transpire on the field. When dealing with a news story that doesn't have a box score, the KFAN talent showed themselves to be unerringly unreliable.

I'm sure one could pull out almost any hour from the archives of the first quarter of 2012 and find something that demonstrates this point, but I'm going to use as my Example Prime a segment from April 20th. Paul Allen, Paul Charchian (who isn't even a football journalist; he's a Fantasy Football "expert") and Vikings center John Sullivan sat around for forty minutes talking about how crazy it was that Minnesota citizens weren't gaga for a new stadium.

I'm going to re-enter that belly of the beast to show just how bad the biggest sports radio station got it wrong.

You can follow along with me, if you'd like. The show is embedded right here:

Minute 0-:26: the show opens with "Lights" by Journey during which Paul Allen (from now on, "PA" soberly declares, "the lights go down on your city, as your team moves to LA"). Except, the last time anyone checked (and this was certainly true on April 20th), the LA Stadium deal was non-existent.

:26-1:52  : Paul Charchian declares that if the Vikings were to leave, we will do what everyone does--build a new stadium for an expansion team. Not mentioned in his list of cities that have done that? Los Angeles. Also, he declares, the NFL wouldn't want to expand back into Minnesota, because the NFL is happy with the number of teams they have. Yeah, the NFL would never expand because the number of teams they have is just right, right now. Since the NFL's inception, they only wanted to get to 32 teams, and now that they have? They are done and content. All those rumors about moving into Canada or Mexico or even London? bullshit! 32 TEAMS! Paul Charchian clearly ignores things that everyone knows are true, in the hopes they forget them. The NFL doesn't want to expand? I don't even know where he plucked that idea out. Not out of the World of Facts, I can tell you that. Paul also says that the Twin Cities are only the 15th best market (a point that is mentioned more than once, as if 15 in a league with 32 teams is a bad thing).

Also included, PA notes that an expansion team would "suck". Um, "Voice of the Vikings"?--your team was 3-13 last year. In the past decade, the Vikings have won more than 10 games exactly one time--we're not talking about the Colts or Patriots or Packers or even the Saints, here. How many games would an expansion team win? I think 3 is a reasonable guess.

1:52-2:46: Charch challenges you to find someone who died who would have lived if the money used to build Target Field had been used for the impoverished or poor or whatever. He bets you can't do it. That seems like a fair challenge. Because there's nothing the local news covers better than a schizophrenic homeless person dying. That's front page news, especially at KFAN! And nothing is easier to prove than a hypothetical negative.

If you are wondering at this point whether Paul Charchian is a huge douche, I can't say. But his callousness during this bit is kind of amazing.

But, just for the hell of it. Let's say I took all that Target Field money. Let's say I diverted it into school programs, either anti-bullying, or increased support staff for at-risk youth. Maybe, just maybe, you wouldn't have had headlines in 2011, IN FUCKING ENGLAND, that read like this: "String of teenage suicides in Michele Bachmann's Minnesota backyard linked to anti-gay bullying."

2:46-4:38   Class Warfare! People who are against the stadium aren't thinking about the people who are working two jobs, and depending on those vendor jobs to get by. It is the American dream to work three jobs, one at Target Field, one at Target Center, and one at Target. John Sullivan chips in--the new stadium will revitalize that part of downtown Minneapolis, or the new stadium won't get built, and those hard-working people will lose their jobs. And it will be my fault.

4:38-5:10  Still Class Warfare, but Charch wants to make sure he ices his spot as the dumbest guy on the panel, which he does, right here. People are so fixated on harming Zygi Wilf, he claims, that they are willing (he makes it sound intentional) to take lower-class people's jobs away from them, just to deliver the point. People like me, I guess, hate guys who have money so much, that we will sacrifice vendors jobs just for the opportunity to hurt Zygi Wilf. AND I WILL DESTROY FAMILIES. That seems fair, and not at all like clumsy propaganda.

It is as if the whole stadium crisis was brought about by people who don't want the new stadium. Am I wrong here, or is that just completely upside-down and backwards talk? It's like a Da Vinci diary, but stupid. The crisis was not caused by Minnesota citizens; it was brought about by the Wilfs and the NFL.

5:10-6:28  John Sullivan says, for real, "We're getting into a bigger issue about America at this point." Oh, indeed we are. "Being successful and having money in this day and age is seen as evil, which I can't stand." Yep, you've nailed what us poor people think about you millionaires and your billionaire boss. You got us. Thanks for the insight, Sullivan. Sullivan then compares his second contract, and being validated as a player to the stadium deal, which makes no sense, especially if you look at the job the Vikings as a whole have done. (They've have one great year, two good years, and seven pretty bad years in the last decade. Who gets a raise based on those numbers? The Vikings deserve to be validated for their last decade?)

6:28-7:00:  Serious FACT CHECK ALERT HERE. I'm going to try to get Charchian's words exact right here: "[Zygi Wilf] Didn't grow up in money. He earned the money he's got. There's a lot of people..especially the people who absolutely hate the wealthy, that all envision that you never had to work for it. He had to work for everything he had."

Jesus Christ. Wikipedia says that Zygi Wilf inherited a home building business that he took from building homes and only four shopping centers into a much bigger company. Does inheriting four shopping centers sound like "not coming from money" to you?

Paul Charchian, have you heard of Google and/or Wikipedia?

7:00-8:10: A discussion of how great the Wilfs have been on spending on Free Agents, even when they were terrible ideas (Brett Favre, Bernard Berrian), and how they did that even though they had a terrible stadium (not one cynic came in to say, "hey, maybe they did to help get a stadium built?").

Also, other teams that are in bad stadium deals at least have tailgating, and that somehow represents a better situation. (again, there was, at the time of this radio discussion, no movement in LA, nor has there been since. LA is serving as a Monster-Under-The-Bed. It's not really there, but it still scares the shit out of people who really should know better.)

8:15-9:20: Congratulating the Vikings for not threatening to leave. Suggesting that Roger Goodell is above saber-rattling. That his threat to move the Vikings to LA (even though, technically, that threat was never actually made!) is legit.

9:30-13:00: John Sullivan, PA, and Charch take a break to discuss their trips to the Caribbean. SERIOUSLY.  Sullivan recommends St. Bart's. That whole class warfare thing was indeed bullshit. Tell us all more about the trips we can not afford, you assholes.

13:00-38:00 What follows is lot of actual football talk, which is all these idiots should be doing. Though I'm pretty sure somewhere in here Sullivan claims that a Super Bowl brings in $400 million, and Charch says, "Hell, the stadium practically pays for itself! That's amazing." Which it would be, if it were true. It's not. If it were true, $400 million from the public wouldn't be quite so controversial.

So, that's the kind of insight your average Vikings fan got from the station that carries the Vikings. Maybe they interviewed a sports economist. Maybe they talked to Neil at Field of Schemes. But I bet they didn't!

*taken from the City Pages website.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Another Analysis of the Wolves Draft, By Another Person Who Doesn't Know That Much

The mood around the Twin Cities today was a fairly dark one, after Flip Saunders and the Timberwolves traded down and selected Shabazz Muhammad at #14 in the NBA Draft. How dark? Let's go to the Star Tribune's Jim Souhan:  "Muhammad makes Kris Humphries look like Magic Johnson." I don't think that's accurate, if one can figure out if Souhan actually means that comparison, or whether he's been hyperbolic in that funny and helpful way that sportswriters like to be. But we can at least agree that it wasn't meant to complimentary, yeah? (For the record, I've had an up-and-down (in a non-sexual way) relationship with Souhan)

Every local media analyst seems pretty convinced the Wolves made a huge mistake. But there's a couple of problems with that, problems that have very little to do with how good Muhammad will be as an NBA player.

The first problem is that this wasn't a great draft. Everyone said so. There wasn't a guaranteed impact player in the bunch. Nerlens Noel, the guy everyone thought was going to be Top 2 fell to #6, and Anthony Bennett, a guy most people had sliding down the board went #1. There wasn't even a consensus Top 2. That's rare.

So, in a draft like that, how upset can anyone get? How can it go from "This draft doesn't feature a ton of talent, so it's kinda anyone's guess" to "OH MY GOD THE WOLVES HAVE REALLY SCREWED UP THIS TIME". (See MPR's Newsman Bob Collins' Twitter feed to see how little I'm exaggerating that). I'm not sure when CJ McCollum magically transformed from an undersized, injury-prone two-guard to the Savior of the Franchise, but that's the player most of these guys feel like we should have gotten.

The second problem is the bigger one in my mind, especially for those of us who listen to the experts on the radio, read their columns in the newspaper (they still print those!) and assume, because they are in the media, that they have some insight that we don't. Sometimes they do - particularly the inside politicking of a franchise. KFAN host Dan Barreiro and Star Trib Wolves writer Jerry Zgoda had a quick Twitter exchange in which it was clear that both had been told that Muhammad was not going to be a member of the Wolves. They had inside dope, but it was wrong, or rather the circumstances changed to make Muhammad a reasonable pick-up (namely, getting a second first-rounder to go along with him). But when it comes to evaluating talent, when it comes to judging ability, these experts on the radio and in the newspaper aren't any better at it than the average schmo.

They are often rather brazen about it. This morning on KFAN's morning show, with Paul Allen and Paul Charchian (a veritable nexus of credulous boobery, as has been discussed previously), they were "analyzing" Shabazz Muhammad's game, and both admitted they were basing it on some limited information. How limited? Paul Allen was basing everything he was saying on the one game that UCLA played against the Gophers in the NCAA's. Charchian was going off what he saw on YouTube. FOR REAL. Without doing a lick of work, I have researched Muhammad's game more thoroughly than the guys paid to talk about it? By watching 2 UCLA games last year? Incredible. Jim Souhan's article is more of the same.

Hell, Britt Robson, a basketball writer I love to no end, basically admitted to be working off completely received knowledge, because he doesn't watch college basketball. To his credit, Robson also points out that anyone thinking this draft was the Most Important Thing ever are kinda crazy.

Sometimes, they are just outright wrong. I can't believe these sentences are still up on the St. Paul Pioneer Press website, for example. Tom Powers writes the following about Muhammad: "And it was discovered that his birth certificate was purposely falsified and that he really was a year older than everyone thought. That's a big deal when you're a teen and able to dominate younger kids."

That's just factually wrong. His birth certificate was not falsified. It was his birth certificate that lead the LA Times to conclude that Muhammad's age was incorrect in the UCLA media guide. Finding this out takes about 30 seconds of Googling, which Tom Powers just doesn't have time for, because he's too busy not doing anything resembling basic research. Why should facts be important to a member of the media? I guess budgets cuts mean that Tom Powers, who was/is/will always be a Stupid Fat Fuck is allowed to write whatever he wants. And I'm not really sure how it is that big of an advantage Muhammad got all through his years in basketball, playing against people younger and older than him throughout high school and college. Was he beating up 10 year-olds on the court when he was sixteen? Nope. Again, Tom Powers is a Stupid Fat Fuck, who could maybe get sued for getting this very, very basic fact of the story so very wrong.

So, with that said, here are more observations from a person who doesn't know that much more than you do about the Wolves picks, but probably just as much as anyone else you've listened to (aside from the crazy people who run the full time Wolves blogs like Canis Hoopus or A Wolf Among Wolves - those guys use analysis and shit. (that sounded mocking. it wasn't. I love those blogs. They make charts, and I don't know how to do that)).

#14 - Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA). Perhaps one of the more divisive picks of the entire draft, leaving aside #1 Anthony Bennett, which made Bill Simmons poop himself a little, and Noel falling down to #6. Muhammad is a bit of a conundrum. But without getting into all the stats, he is a good to great midrange shooter, and was 42% from the three-point line in his one year at UCLA. The Wolves were the worst three-point shooting team in the league, needing to get hot at the end of the year to get above 30%. For every person who says he lacks a work ethic, there's another person who will swear up and down that he works as hard as anyone. For every critic who says he's a black hole on  offense, and points to his terrible assists numbers at UCLA, there's a proponent who points out that his job was to shoot, not pass. My guess is that between Ricky, KLOVE, Rick Adelman, Shabazz will get sorted out in that regard. He's great in transition, but some folks worry that his high scoring percentage in transition means he's terrible in the half-court. Not from what I've seen. On a team where he'll be coming off the bench for at least his first year, if not first two, he'll be asked to do what he does well, which is score. He needs to work on his defense, but his cause there will actually be aided by the Wolves 2nd First Round pick:

#21 - Gorgui Dieng (Louisville). He's already the press' preferred first round pick (He loves cold weather!). Quick aside - remember when people argued that David Kahn screwed up terribly by drafting Ricky Rubio, because he'd never come here, because the winters are too damn cold? No? IT HAPPENED. I like Dieng, too. Here's why I like him - I have watched a ton of Big East Basketball (oh, and I hate Louisville), and I watched Dieng transform himself from awkward tall guy who could block shots into a much more complete player. He can absolutely block shots - his timing and wingspan (Jay Bilas says,"drink!") are a great combination. But over the past couple of years, he's learned to pass well, often triggering plays on the baseline from the top of the key. He's limited offensively, but he's learned that at his height, he just needs to go up aggressively to make a difference. He reads the floor extremely well. He's just a smart player, who is still learning and willing to do so. The Wolves haven't had a great shot blocker since Kevin Garnett. Dieng will provide a defense in the paint not predicated on taking charges, and we can applaud that, as taking charges is the kind of bullshit stat that the Joe Smith's and Shane Battier's of the world got their money. And with a shot-blocker in the middle, maybe Muhammad's perimeter defense doesn't have to be spectacular right off the bat. Put them on the floor together, and let Muhammad just filter his man into the middle into the waiting, go-go-Gadget arms of Gorgui. And it should be noted I haven't seen a player who doesn't appear at least 25% better offensively just by being on the court with Ricky Rubio (see Derrick Williams). Gorgui better like alley-oops (spoiler: he does)

#52 - Lorenzo Brown (NC State). I wish I could say I was shocked that Brown was still there at #52, but there's one thing College Basketball doesn't lack, and it is athletes. The fact that Rodney Williams of Minnesota and Khalif Wyatt of Temple are both signing free agent deals speaks to that. But I have watched a lot of Lorenzo Brown, more than any talking head in the Twin Cities, and I'm here to tell you that this kid is going to be something. He's a steal here. And I think he'll contribute right away - he's a tall-ish combo guard (6' 5") who gives the Wolves some options outside of the Short Combo of Luke Ridnour and feisty but annoyingly inconsistent JJ Barea. While not crazy explosive (no one the Wolves picked will be in the Dunk Contest) he's athletic enough to finish at the basket. He's not a great shooter, but the Wolves system is probably just fine with that at the moment, considering that their plan seems to be to run a traditional point. But I really can't wait for this kid's first steal and dunk in transition. I don't think I'll have to wait long.

#59 - Bojan Dubljevic - Essentially, no one in America outside of Pro Scouts know a thing about this guy. I'll just link to DraftExpress and leave it at that.

In my mind, the Wolves got three guys who will contribute something pretty much right away. They won't be starters - this wasn't a starters kind of draft. But they got three players who are worthy of more optimism than is being sent their way currently, particularly at the local level. (notable exception: the aforementioned geeks at A Wolf Among Wolves).

It wasn't a tranformative moment, but Michael Jordan wasn't in this draft. The Wolves did just fine, in my humble opinion. And at the very least, I know more about that Tom Powers, who is still just a stupid fat fuck.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vikings Stadium Issue: Uninformed Commentary

I was planning to write something on a couple of issues, and I think I will get to them, but some special mention has to be made of the fucking travesty of misinformation that came riding on the radio waves on KFAN this morning. I've had plenty of issues with Paul Allen in the past, mostly because of his ridiculously obvious paid for boosterism of the Vikings. He's their radio voice, sure, but that doesn't mean he has to make incredibly stupid predictions, as he did all last year. My favorite was (direct quote, ladies and gentlemen):

BERNARD BERRIAN will run up 900 receiving yards and about seven TD's. His per-catch average will be around 17 yards and he will resume his role as the team's best deep threat. Bernard adjusts to the ball better than any receiver we have and is more engaged to play than he has been the last couple of years. Milk The Great 28, go play-action, and he'll be singled more than he's not.

So, we have two choices when parsing that prediction--Paul Allen is either a total idiot (which I kind of doubt, to be honest, though he's nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is) or he's so in the tank for the Vikings that he's willing to look like an idiot just to boost up a club that no one thought was going to be very good (and was probably worse than expectations). During that same write-up, he decided to back up Adrian Peterson's prediction 2,500 RUSHING yards.

So, not shockingly, the guy hired to be the radio voice for the Vikings has a history of greatly overestimating the ability of various Vikings. But what happened on the 9 am hour of Friday's show was beyond belief. Paul Allen is joined by Fantasy Football impresario Paul Charchian and actual Minnesotan Viking John Sullivan. Not contacted at any point--anyone with an alternate point of view, a sports economist, anyone who doesn't think that the Vikings should be kept, regardless of cost. Essentially, anyone with a perspective that messes with their narrative, aside from some callers, who can always dismiss and rip after you've hung up on them.

If you can handle it, I kind of demand you listen to the actual show. I'll pull some quotes, but I really can't pull out all the dumb shit that is said. The first five seconds prove what I've said about Commissioner Goodell and Zygi Wilf not actually threatening to move. Who needs to threaten when independent media open the way this hour of radio opens?

We begin with Paul Charchian's rant. And I'm paraphrasing here

Charch: "If the Vikings leave, we'll end up building a new stadium, just like Houston and other have, and we'll end up having to pay a new franchise fee, and who knows if the NFL will even want to expand? They are pretty happy at 32 teams, after all."

Funny Charch should mention Reliant Stadium. It was completed 10 years ago, and it was one third the cost of the proposed Minnesota Viking stadium. Inflation does not explain what is happening with stadium building costs. Reliant was built mostly with tax dollars (73%), which by my math is $332 million in 2012 dollars, or roughly half of what Minnesotan taxpayer are being asked to put in. Franchise fees are not paid by taxpayers (not directly, at least), and if the story of Houston is to be believed, a Los Angeles NFL team could knock down the cost of franchise fee considerably. As for the NFL not wanting to expand? Hilarious. If the Vikings were to move (which, let's be clear, the NFL doesn't want to see happen), the NFL would fast track any opportunity to get back into the market. We aren't the ugly girl at prom, y'all!

Charch and PA: "And it will be an expansion team and it will suck"

Suck like a 3-13 team with an aging superstar at RB coming off knee surgery and a rookie QB? I am as impressed as anyone is by Adrian Peterson, but he's 27, coming off ACL and MCL surgery and probably has two or three good years left. The Vikings would be hard pressed to beat an expansion team in Week 1 of the 2012 season. Make no mistake--success matters. The Colts got their stadium built (for $200 less than the proposed Vikings stadium) after a decade of dominance. The Vikings, over the past decade? They've won more than 9 games two times.

Charch: [seriously listen to his tone when discussing this one. Start at about the 1:50 mark] You know, people talk about the poor, whatever. We built the Twins stadium, and who died? Show me who died!

Hey, Charch--poor people die all the time, whether you hear about them or not, and yes, money that you want to go to pay for a stadium might save some people. If you spend the $600 million dollars you want to build a stadium with and spend it on mental health for people without medical insurance in the Twin Cities? Yes, more people will be live, and many more people will have an improved quality of life. Without a doubt. Probably a lot more people.

I've been planning on writing a special compendium of the false equivalence between Target Field and this Vikings Stadium. The difference? $cale.

NFL backers should NEVER compare their stadiums to baseball fields. Target Field was less than half the cost of the projected Vikings stadium, and they bring people into the neighborhood 81 times, compared to 8 in the NFL (playoffs not included). It is, on its face, a ridiculous comparison. Oh, and the Twins were riding a decade of playoff visits, and quality management, compared to the stumble-wumbly nature of the Vikings.

I haven't even gotten into the economics these buffoons bandy about, like they know anything about it. John Sullivan at one point says, "Listen, I'm not economist, but I read that a Super Bowl brings in $400 million dollars to the city that hosts it." and Charch says, "That's almost half of the stadium right there!" Yeah, if only those numbers that John Sullivan quoted were at all real. They aren't.

I only got two minutes into the broadcast, and the amount of misinformation in those two minutes was enough to fuel this entire post. This is what the typical Vikings fan is hearing in the morning on their radio, and yet, the support for the Vikings Stadium is, at best, apathetic.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fantasy Sports Hotline

Okay, you got me. Actually this has nothing to do with sports unless you count the fact that the guy at the 2:24 mark is a spitting image for IDYFT head honcho Big Blue Monkey. Also I think I saw Chad Johnson do a TD celebration remarkably similar to the policeman's dance.

Nonetheless, this non-sports related fantasy hotline is the kind Paul Charchian secretly dreams of. It's technically safe for work but I wouldn't go around making a big production out of watching it around people who you're trying to impress. Enjoy!

Thanks to our good friend Rocco for the heads up!