Thursday, July 23, 2015

Old Sportswriter Notes One Fact, Makes Insane Generalization

I'm sorry, I know Frank Deford is a crotchety old dude. I know the NPR just hires him for some color commentary.  I know that his segment is called "Sweetness and Light", so it's not supposed to be serious, but when he says things this stupid, I can't hold back.  Here's one of his segments from this spring: "As American Sports Skew More Arm-Centric, Throwing Injuries Rise"

Whatever happened to rotator cuffs? It seems like just yesterday that every pitcher who was injured had a problem with his rotator cuff. But baseball player injuries now invariably require something called "Tommy John surgery," which has become epidemic.

Right, this is one fact, Tommy John surgery is up. Let's see where we go here.

The difference is simple: The rotator cuff involves the shoulder while Tommy John relates to the elbow, or more precisely, the ulnar collateral ligament. The corrective surgery, by Dr. Frank Jobe, was first performed 41 years ago on Dodgers pitcher Tommy John, and for years it remained fairly uncommon. Now, it is downright commonplace.

Ok, so this is just an extension here.  So far so good. 

It is also indisputable that as more pitchers throw faster — mid-90 mph becoming routine — the more Tommy John surgeries we encounter. It doesn't require a crack detective to solve the case: The more pitchers throwing with all their might for just a few pitches, the more ulnar collateral ligaments that are failing. Pitchers' arms are becoming like football players' heads. The happy difference is that you do not need a good arm to keep on living a long normal life the way you do need an undamaged brain.

Wohoo!  Take that, football! You guys all have damaged brains! But even so far Frank is  just ambling along saying nothing interesting.  But here we go:

But let's face it: American athletics are armcentric. Not just the pitcher — everybody on a baseball team has to throw the ball. Football depends more and more on passing. "What's his arm strength?" the scouts first ask of quarterbacks. Basketball shots are propelled by strong arms, especially now with the long 3-point basket in vogue.

What?  There are so many levels of stupid here:
1. First basemen, offensive tackles, and power forwards basically never throw anything with one arm.  Nothing at all about their games is increasingly armcentric.  In fact, this whole paragraph makes the insane point that Tommy John surgeries are up, and that must be tied to the increasingly armcentric wold of sports.   It's like Frank Deford hates modernity so much that he just makes wild generalizations just to show how life is going to hell in a handbasket.

2. Were scouts in previous ages no longer primarily concerned with arm strength?  Do baseball position players throw any more now than they used to?

3.  What about the statement that "the long 3-point basket in vogue"?!  The NBA adopted the 3 in 1979.  That was 36 years ago, Frank!  Where the hell have you been?

Throwing is certainly not unnatural, but pitching a baseball overhanded is too abnormal an action for the human body. In contrast, throwing a softball underhanded is a pretty smooth motion. A cricket bowler delivers the ball to the batsman in something of a high loop, without being allowed to break the elbow.

Are Tommy John surgeries in cricket bowlers up or something?  Who cares?

It would seem that pitchers have survived, barely, these past 150 years or so, but now the added stress — especially for pitchers who started throwing too hard too young — is just enough to break down too many arms.

It would seem that Frank Deford has survived, barely, these past 150 years or so, but now the added stress - especially for bitter bloggers who started blogging too hard too young - is just enough to break down dan-bob's sanity.

Rob Manfred, is, officially, only the commissioner of professional baseball, but just like the bumbling NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, Manfred is really the steward of his game. 

Take that, football! Your sport is becoming inceasingly armcentric and your commissioner is so incompetent that even 150-year old fossils get their digs in!

Manfred should convene some sort of all-baseball conference to examine this serious issue. Until then, it appears that baseball simply feels that pitchers are fungible, that there's always another kid with a temporarily live arm who can fire it by the hitters.

"Fungible"?  Put away your thesaurus, Frank, The whole article sticks in a pretty simple diction, appropriate for a general audience on the radio, and then Frank drops a totally unnecessarily fancy word as he moves towards his close.  It's the same thing he did in my last post with "high-falutin'".

Really, we've got to do better by our best arms.


National Public Radio really has to do better by its ordinary listeners.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I'm on a mission now

Posting that last piece about Frank Deford felt good.  It felt so good I went to see if he had written any other garbage and boy has he ever.  He has so many hot taeks:

  • "Americans Don't Care about Major League Soccer"
  • "Awards for Athletes Should Honor Unsung Heroes"
  • Some moral grandstanding about Tom Brady being a cheater
  • "Alex Rodriguez is Back, For Better or Worse"
  • "Outside of the Games, Are Sports Corrupt?"
  • An article that declares the truly groundbreaking idea that America's national pastime is no longer good old baseball but FOOTBALL.
  • World Series games start too late!
He's the Platonic version of a crotchety-old-man get-off-my-lawn commentator.  Honestly if I followed more other sports or had enough bile in me I could just do a weekly feature hating on this guy. Maybe I will, if he keeps setting out to ruin my Wednesday mornings with his terrible radio bits.

Anyways, check out another of his amazing insights: "All Star Games Are Worthless if the Players are not All-Stars".  Whooo, boy. Time for Frank Deford to weigh in on this crucial issue of the All Star balloting:


For those of you who haven't got your baseball All-Star ballot in, don't panic, you have until Thursday. It's convenient. You can get a ballot off the Internet, and here's the good news: You can vote 35 times.
Well, all right, that makes sense. It might have been interesting to note that MLB eliminated paper ballots this year, which seems like it would have been the perfect thing for a crotchety old guy to complain about. 
[English teacher usage geekery alert:  Does it make any sense, in this context to get a ballot "off the internet"?  The ballot only exists on the internet, it's not like you could download it and send it in.  I'm imagining Frank spending twenty minutes trying to print a ballot on his inkjet printer and then mailing it c/o Rob Manfred in New York.  But I digress.  That was only one preposition.]
Understand what I'm saying? Each fan can cast 35 votes. Where that magic figure comes from, I don't know. Why not 3,500 apiece? Or 35,000?
Well I mean, 35,000 would be silly, Frank. I guess he's right in pointing out that it seems arbitrary, but it's not like this is anything new.  Actually, paper balloting would have allowed each fan to vote like a zillion times if they really wanted to.
Anyway, it means that more than half a billion votes will be cast. Not only that, but, in order to keep the election on the up-and-up, baseball swears that it tosses out about one out of every five votes. 
Now this is sort of interesting.  I'm intrigued to know that MLB considers 20% of the votes to be fraudulent.  Can you tell me something interesting about that, Frank Deford?
I can only guess that vampires and terrorists are denied the franchise.
ZING!  I submit to you, in the 1,481st post, the worst joke in this blog's history.
So right now –– just to take one example –– Salvador Perez has 11,666,785 votes for catcher. What does that mean? It's like light years or grains of sand on the beach, just number numbers.
Frank, fan balloting with meaningless final vote totals has been going on for 45 years now.  Are you just now understanding it?  And secondly, what's with the insult here: somehow, these are "just number numbers".  Take that, stats geeks!  Either way, Frank, writers like you are idiot idiots.
But having fans vote is the way leagues like to run All-Star balloting nowadays, instead of being old-fashioned and letting the choices be made by people who actually know something, people we dare call experts.
Fan balloting was restored in 1970.  That was during the Nixon presidency. Apollo 13 happened that year. You cannot possibly talk about leagues using fan ballots "nowadays". Nor can you also ignore the obvious fact that fans only select the 17 starters and the two Final Vote guys, while the managers and players collectively select 33, and that doesn't count the replacements. Right now the fans pick about a third of the roster.
You see, when fans vote, it's interactive. It's an interactive world now. Baseball's rationale is that if you voted your 35 times for Salvador Perez, interactively, you'll then be on pins and needles to see if he can win. You're invested in Salvador Perez.
When Frank was growing up the world was not interactive.  It just sat there and you just sat there and nothing happened. You'd wake up the next day and nothing would also happen because the world was not interactive.   Thank god the world turned interactive sometime in like 2002 because otherwise we'd still be sitting there in puddles of our own drool.
Plus, wouldn't voters be equally invested in their candidates with the paper ballot?  Wouldn't the same basic thing be true of elections in sports, politics, online polls, the 8th grade student council president at Otis P. Snodgrass Junior high in Arkadelphia and also the  entire history of human beings?  Didn't ancient Greeks and Romans sit out on pins and needles because they were invested in electing the next group of senators or whatever?
But actually it's the reverse, because the irony is that if you want to get fans just plain actively engaged, the fewer decision-makers the better. Half the fun in the selection of All-Stars — or any award winners — is being able to castigate the people who made the choices you disagree with as dimwitted dummies.
I guess that's true.  It's sort of mean spirited, I guess, but given the nature of this blog I will stay safely in my glass house of castigating dimwitted dummies.
That's why Simon Cowell on American Idol was so good: because he was a loud-mouth, very outer-active judge you could hate. But when it's just millions of interactive ballots filled out robotically you've got nobody to vent to and a lot of emotion goes out of the game before it starts.

Are you kidding? Everybody vented about Royals fans for the last two months. Somehow this took the emotion out of the game?  That makes no sense.  Honestly, the thing that really takes the emotion out of the selection is the fact that there are like eighty players selected which is like more than 10% of the current roster of baseball.  Maybe if they cut back on the dead weight we'd have some more tension here.  

But god forbid then we have a tie and no doubt Frank Deford's Church of Old Timey Baseball would hate any repeats of that one year, you know, the All Star Game Which Shall Not Be Named.

It's even worse this year because the good people of Kansas City have stuffed the ballot box, so instead of an All-Star game, it's going to be more of a royal pain. 
Zing!  Like the time Prince Charles had a charlie horse!
That's the problem when anyone fills out an Internet ballot, times 35: Fans don't make serious judgments. They just vote for all-ordinary players on their favorite team.
What an idiot.  Fans have always done this.  My own Cincinnati Reds did this famously back in the fifties, essentially ending the fan vote for a dozen years. Internet ballots are no worse than paper ballots.  No doubt Frank longs for the glory days of the 1990s when every fan took their vote seriously and the players casually took steroids and Hideki Irabu was a major league pitcher.
Look, All-Star games in every sport are just high-falutin' exhibitions, but they're good fun. Unfortunately, they're worthless if the people playing in the All-Star games aren't, well, aren't all-stars.
Maybe a couple of questionable players are elected of the whole 80-man roster, and Frank declares the whole exercise worthless, even as a high-falutin' exhibitions. Ugh.

Excuse the following usage/English geekery.  If you're not an English teacher nerd like me you may want to stop reading, but honestly, who hyphenates AND adds an apostrophe to "highfalutin"?  The word is not an abbreviation for "highfaluting", and it's not hyphenated. You can't just add random punctuation to try and make your words sound less.... highfalutin.  You actually have to choose a different word.  In fact, arbitrary punctuation disasters aside, it's not even the right word!  What is so highfalutin about a baseball game? It's not played by Dukes (anymore) or Princes (wait..), the preferred foods are hot dogs and sunflower seeds, and it's really just grown men running around and sliding in the mud.  You're not even a good writer, Frank.

Well this has been miserable and I hope you're feeling equally miserable that this guy is employed to say things about sports.  When I am up to it again I will write up another one of his horrible pieces.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I haven't posted in six months but this infuriated me so much that I have to take time out of my day to excoriate it

Now that I am all grown up and no longer the fresh-faced wise-ass I was when I first posted on this blog back eight years ago, my bitterness has abated somewhat. Now I'm a family guy, two baby daughters, etc.  But every so often something comes along that is so infuriating that it has basically ruined my morning and forced me to spend the first half hour of my work day writing a post for the first time in six months.  I know only like six people read this blog but I am convinced that I must write this in order to expose the banality of evil that is Frank Deford, and that if even one of you goes home and thinks, "You know, Frank Deford sucks", then I will have made the world a better place and there will be some brighter future for humanity.

Here's the scene in the dan-bob family van this morning on the way to work. Mrs. dan-bob is in the backseat dealing with a screaming baby-bob.

NPR Host: Upcoming: a story about statistics and our national pasttime!

dan-bob: Awesome!  [turns up radio over screaming child, tells wife to calm that kid down already]

NPR Host: Here's our weekly commentary from Frank Deford

dan-bob: Oh no. 

Frank Deford: Whereas numbers have never been a significant adjunct to the other performing arts, they've been stitched into the very essence of sport. Not just the score, but how fast, how far, how good. And, of course, no sport is so identified with numbers as is our American baseball.

Here's  a little cheat sheet for any of you who want to know if your commentator is a self-righteous chump like Frank Deford: they use "sport" in the singular. [Note: you're exempt from this rule if you're British.].  Besides that, this is some awful diction: "adjunct"?  "stitched"?  "our American baseball"?  What the heck other kind of baseball is there?  I hate Frank Deford. Honestly I think I hate him more than I've hated anyone else on this website.  He's like HatGuy on steroids invating my morning commute and regularly wrecking my Wednesdays.

In fact, baseball statistics have been around almost as long as baseball. But stats — which is a fairly new shortcut word, about as old as the Mets and Astros are — have proliferated recently, not only in other sports, notably basketball, but to deeper and deeper levels of baseball enlightenment.

First, Frank, in the English language there is actually a word for "shortcut words".  We call them "abbreviations".  Second, is there any reason to note that the abbreviation is as old as the Mets and Astros?  Referencing baseball expansion in the early 1960s makes no sense to me, unless he's trying to argue that baseball expansion is bad or lazy or something.  But if there were any group of fans out there pining for pre-expansion sixteen-team all-white baseball, I'd expect Frank Deford to be their spiritual leader, chanting about the evils of modern baseball and demanding a return to the pure Church of Baseball.

Today, traditional statistics like batting or earned run averages — righteous measures that were accepted as the athletic equivalent of the Ten Commandments — are made to seem quaint and primitive. Baseball even has its own specific brand of analytics, which is known as sabermetrics.

Bible references!  Righteous measures! Anyone who would deny righteous measures like BA and ERA are inherently sinful to the essence of sport! These are the Ten Commandments of the Frank Deford Church of Old Timey Baseball!

Baseball statistics were further glorified by Michael Lewis in his book Moneyball and then on film by the heartthrob Brad Pitt. Imagine on-base percentage being a thing of heartthrob. Moneyball posited the fancy that revolutionary statistical magic had sprung forth from the brain of the Oakland General Manager Billy Beane, like Athena emerging full-blown from Zeus' head. In fact, other resourceful innovators had found original uses for stats all through diamond history.

Dear God: "posited the fancy"?  Someone shoot Frank Deford with a pellet gun.  And the reference to Athena: wait, what? I don't see any reason for the allusion other than trying to overdramatize a nonissue. I'm sure this is just the pure holy Frank Deford defending his Church of Old Timey Baseball against the pagan innovations of modern man.

Plus, at the end of this paragraph, you'd think that Frank is going to talk about the actual resourceful innovators, but no, this paragraph is just one of many examples of his disjointed rambling. This essay has no direction, no organizing principles.  It's just the rambling of a bitter old man.

But now there is an absolute sabermetric explosion. Every team has employed nerds, who are presumably tucked away in secret offices, with computers and green eyeshades, emerging only to hand over new numerical strategies. This has resulted not only in the outward and visible sign of infielders being shifted all around the diamond like linebackers in football, but even in covert skulduggery, industrial espionage and power politics.

Oh man.  This is the new Cheetos-and-Mountain-Dew-in-the-parents'-basement! It's the secret-offices-and-green-eyeshades insult!  Good lord, this man's insults are even more dated than his opinions. Someone please put this fossil of a sportswriter in a museum, but not like on display at the museum.  Just put him in one of those back storage sheds that never gets opened where he can mildew and canker all he wants without bothering people.

I also like how Frank blames the sabermetric explosion for defensive shifts, which any educated baseball fan knows date to the 1920s, covert skulduggery (which of course was never around before, thank god), industrial espionage (i.e. when you use someone else's password to log into a website), and power politics (good thing baseball was apolitical back in the old days!).

Last week the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim general manager up and quit in midseason — something that statistically just doesn't happen — because, it seems, his manager wouldn't apply enough of the new metrics that his computer minions were churning out.

That's hilarious! It "statistically just doesn't happen" because it is uncommon!  I get it!  It's a joke! Good thing we have statistics around to identify uncommon things! I wish someone would glue Frank Deford's mouth shut!  

But wait! Worse than this front-office insurrection, the federal government itself may well bring charges against one or more members of the St. Louis Cardinals staff, nabbed for hacking into the secret files of the Houston Astros. Hacking! Baseball! Like Russians and Chinese. Oh my.

Oh my god! Like this is somehow worse than all the other terrible things that have happened in baseball over the years! Some Cardinals folks used the old password of an Astros guy!  THE WORLD IS GOING TO THE DOGS AND THE PURITY OF THE FRANK DEFORD CHURCH OF OLD TIMEY BASEBALL IS FOREVER STAINED.  ALL THE RACISM AND STEROIDS AND LABOR DISPUTES AND THE JUICED BALL DIDN'T DO IT, BUT NOW THE CARDINALS ARE HACKERS, AND THAT'S THE LAST STRAW!

"Like the Russians".  It's like we're living in 1960 or something.  Frank Deford is still cheering for the Mazeroski home run and ignoring Mickey Mantle's alcoholism.

It makes deflating a few footballs look like child's play, and it makes baseball the darkest statistical art, even more the place for sexy metrics.

What? Ow. How is this even a concluding sentence?  How is this statistics a "dark art"?  What the hell are "sexy metrics"? THE CHURCH OF OLD TIMEY BASEBALL WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS. FRANK DEFORD WILL EXORCISE THE DEMONS!

This wasn't even an essay.  It was just rambling about nothing, with a heavy dose of moral grandstanding.  And yet NPR has him on every Wednesday morning, ostensibly to say something interesting about sports. I generally enjoy getting my news from NPR in the morning, but if they employ Frank Deford, it casts serious doubt on the quality of the rest of their reporting. Imagine if the equivalent of Frank Deford were informing a large number of Americans about something actually important.

Even Mrs. dan-bob, who only caught snatches of it in between infant screams, knew enough to remark. "Why did you listen to that?  Frank Deford sucks so much".  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

When Mariotti attacks Simmons, everybody loses, part 2 of 2


Honestly, for an article written by this blog's third most frequently cited moron (and the inspiration for the blog's name for crisesakes), about this blog's most frequently cited moron, this really isn't much to work with here once you get past Jay's own-shit-smelling hatred of bloggers. Let's see what else we can have some fun with.

The network has only itself to blame, enabling Simmons and turning him loose to the point he was uncontrollable.

Except that the only thing that finally got him shitcanned was his direct and pointed insults towards the NFL, the biggest revenue producer (and probably the most powerful entity) in American sports. It's not like ESPN is looking back at how they enabled and supported Simmons and saying "My God, we should have seen this coming! This was obviously the way this would end!" He picked what is probably the one and only insult target that would get him canned, and even still, it took multiple incidents for ESPN to decide they'd had enough.

There is a difference between covering sports with fierce independence — my philosophy —

Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Go play in traffic, you twatmunch. It's pretty easy to be "independent" when no one will hire you because your own misconduct makes you toxic as fuck.

and being a megalomaniacal jackass like Simmons,

No argument here.

who never took a law class

Jay Mariotti, Esq., here to opine on defamation jurisprudence. Oh wait, never mind, he's just got his head up his own colon as usual.

and, thus, didn’t understand why the company suspended him for referring to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as “a liar.”

I'm sure he understood. Also, it takes about 90 seconds on Wikipedia to learn that under 1st Amendment caselaw, since Goodell is inarguably a "public figure," Simmons’s remark would only create liability if it 1) was incorrect, which, with a generic insult/accusation like “He’s a liar” is very hard to prove, and 2) was made with "actual knowledge" of the fact that the statement wasn’t true (or "reckless disregard" for the truth, which is inapplicable here since Bill doesn't, like, work in the NFL executive offices and have access to Roger's personal files or whatever). But Simmons (and anyone in America with a brain) legitimately felt that Goodell really WAS a liar. Bill’s mistake wasn’t failing to stay within the boundaries of defamation law. It was publicly insulting a gigantic cash cow that helps make ESPN into a gigantic cash cow.

Goodell may have lied about what he knew in the Ray Rice case, but Simmons did not have incontrovertible proof,

This is not how libel works. At all. ESPECIALLY with public figures. You don’t need “incontrovertible proof” to accuse your fucking neighbor of being a liar. If that were the legal standard (especially for public figures) that would lead to no one ever bringing scandals to light due to fear of owing large sums of money if a court deemed the proof of the scandal to fall short of “incontrovertible.”

which means the league could have sued the network for megamillions —

No. Also, I think you should just say “millions;” Megamillions is the popular multistate biweekly lottery, and really, that’s just good clean fun.

and may have done so if ESPN wasn’t a broadcasting bedfellow.

Yes, they may have sued, but they’d know they didn’t have a case. They’d do it just to rattle ESPN’s cage, because if there’s anything that would make ESPN panic, it would be the possibility of lost profits resulting from a deteriorating relationship with THE SHIELD.

Simmons also was unequipped to be editor-in-chief of Grantland.com — his insensitivity was appalling when he approved a piece that unnecessarily outed a transgender person, who, because of the outing, committed suicide.

Well, I’ll take Jay’s side here. I still can’t believe he can’t find (or perhaps correctly read) a Wikipedia page about libel.

Anyone else would have been fired after the Goodell and transgender mistakes.

Probably not, actually. Definitely not the Dr. V putter story, anyways. And he got suspended for the Goodell remarks. A pretty big deal for a guy with his profile.

Simmons kept his job both times only because ESPN president John Skipper doesn’t acknowledge his own errors until he must.

This is true—Jay knows firsthand. He probably waited about five years too long to ban Jay from appearing on Around the Horn.

Friday was that day, hours after Simmons had appeared on the radio show of another ESPN pariah, Dan Patrick, with another over-the-top rip job of Goodell.

There is no such thing as an over-the-top insulting of Goodell. Goodell and his dumb shiteating fat fucking face are immune to hyperbolic vitriol.

Simmons destroyed the commissioner because he didn’t immediately announce a suspension in the Tom Brady deflated-balls scandal, and while it’s fair to wonder why Goodell is waiting, his weekend pause doesn’t warrant a nuclear explosion.

No, it probably doesn’t, but 90% of everything else he does.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Time for one of my favorite old gags—post a hilariously moronic comment multiple times because it’s so enjoyable to read.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

Clearly, Simmons is immature.

An excellent point from Jay, paragon of maturity.

Once a fanboy, always a fanboy.

Once a man who is convinced that Ozzie Guillen is responsible for all the evils of the world, always a man who... that.

I’ve had my squabbles with corporate management.

OH HAVE YA

But my complaints were legitimate —

/dying

a Chicago radio station demanded I sign a sheet of paper that I wouldn’t criticize the Bulls or White Sox, which would have painted me into an ethical corner had I agreed.

I’m sure that is about 25% of the story, or possibly less, but I do have to agree that working in sports media probably loses a shitload of its appeal once you get muzzled.

When I refused, I was fired the day after Christmas.

If only you could have been fired while eating dinner with your family ON Christmas, via an in-person visit from your boss, like the end of Christmas Vacation except without the boss changing his mind.

My bosses at the Chicago Sun-Times had business ties with certain sports owners in town, and when they asked me to soften my opinions about those owners, I said no.

Partly because of the whole ethics issue, but mostly because Jay is a petulant baby who hates Jerry Reinsdorf like most people hate Hitler.

Had Simmons used another description for Goodell, he’d probably still be working at ESPN.

No, he would not.

By calling him a liar, and then challenging the network to reprimand him after doing so, Simmons no longer was fighting a free-speech war.

Actually, he was, but it was also a war of “which of these relationships is worth more money to ESPN,” and he lost, badly.

He was leaving himself vulnerable to a mountainous lawsuit.

No, you fucking retard. No. And were that the case, the NFL could just sue Bill directly and bleed him dry, but that’s not happening even though the NFL is endlessly insecure and vindictive, because that’s not how libel law works.

Before he works again, the fanboy needs to take a law class or two.

/still dying

The Internet has enabled recklessness by idiot entrepreneurs — such as the assclown at Gawker Media — who think they can publish lies about anyone because it’s difficult for a public figure to win a libel suit against a web publication.

Wait—what??????? I thought Goodell had an AIRTIGHT case against Simmons! How is Gawker publishing (true) things about Mariotti any different than Simmons saying (true) things about Goodell, then?

So the entrepreneurs hire clueless kid losers for $15 a story and order them to drive traffic, resulting in sleazy techniques and wild inaccuracies.

Hey, much better than paying Jay whatever he made at the Chicago Sun-Times while using sleazy techniques to publish wild inaccuracies. Speaking of wild inaccuracies, Jay needs to take a law class or two.

I told a college journalism class 

shortly before being removed by campus security so the professor could continue their lecture

that you’d be better off cleaning sewage plants than working for something called Deadspin.com,

True from an income standpoint, I’m sure, but those sewage-cleaning plant jobs are probably union and difficult to get unless you know someone. You can probably work for Deadspin, at least on a freelance basis, based solely on your own skills and merit.

where you’re being paid less than a janitor to basically pick up garbage and place it on the Internet. Another website, Bleacher Report, has somewhat higher standards yet also pays peanuts to kids who don’t know what they’re doing. Why? Because entrepreneurs think you don’t have to pay for good sportswriting.

And sadly, as Bleacher Report’s content continues to get less shitty (I know, I know) and Deadspin continues to occasionally publish cool shit alongside all its terrible unfunny shit, they’re right! This is a systemic problem in the journalism industry, driven by supply and demand in both the media and journalism labor markets, and has very little to do with DURR HURR BILL SIMMONS WASN’T ONE OF THE COOL KIDS IN THE PRESS BOX.

The Bleacher Report entrepreneurs, too, are sports fans, making them fanboys much like … Bill Simmons.

OH MY GOD! CONSPIRACY! ALL THE PIECES FIT! JET FUEL CAN’T MELT STEEL BUILDING SUPPORT BEAMS!

One of America’s best sportswriters, Bob Kravitz,

Bob Kravitz is a shitty writer with shitty opinions. We should have posted much, much more about him when this blog was still quasi-active.

broke the Deflategate story in his new position at an Indianapolis TV station/website.

Did he? Did he "break" it? Maybe he did (I’m sure he has sources galore in the Colts organization, which, good for him), and guess how many sports fans give a flying cunt about that? This isn’t the 20th century, Jay, when one newspaper might get a scoop and be the place to read about a story while another has no idea about it until the first newspaper publishes. It doesn’t matter how much you hate the internet—it has reduced the value of breaking a story to essentially nothing. Deal with it, or GTFO of the industry and stop bothering people.

After the Ted Wells report was issued, Kravitz wrote of unprofessionalism he encountered in the New England media the last few months:

Well, come on, what do you expect? It’s the Boston media.

“The people who disappointed me most were the folks at The [Boston] Globe’s website, Boston.com. They are renowned pom-pom wearers, so it wasn’t a surrpise.

Typo is [sic], left in because Jay is such a big fan of professionalism.

But I was struck at the enthusiasm they displayed while carrying the Patriots’ water. It shocked me that a great newspaper like the Boston Globe would employ such rank amateurs and cheerleaders. Sad.”

Because it’s not the 20th century, Bob and Jay, and pretty much all newspapers are shit and are desperate for access. They’ll cut their own dicks off to curry favor with popular local teams. I know it’s hard for you fucking dinosaurs to understand that times have changed, but maybe if everyone else seems out of touch, you’re the out of touch ones.

Where did Simmons grow up? Boston.

HOLY SHIT ANOTHER LEVEL TO THIS WHOLE THING! NO ONE IS SAFE! THE CLOCK STRIKES AT MIDNIGHT!  THE ILLUMINATI ARE ABOUT TO TAKE OVER!

From who did younger Boston.com sportswriters learn? Simmons.

And I’m sure it was only the young Boston.com writers carrying water for the Pats. I’m sure that Dan Shaugnessy, Jackie MacMullan, etc. were NOWHERE near that practice.

Shame on ESPN for empowering Simmons for so many years.

Oh wow, that’s got to sting. “Shame on you.” Go easy, Jay!

ESPN also killed sportswriting when it gave a major platform to a statistics geek, Nate Silver, failing to realize that sport is best covered via the exploration of human emotion, not the joyless crunching of numbers.

BWAHHHHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

SHUT IT DOWN

I DON’T THINK WE NEED TO GO ANY FURTHER

Oh wait, yes we do:

In the process, the network chased off Rick Reilly, only the greatest sportswriter of his generation

Rick Reilly couldn’t sportswrite his way through a wet piece of toilet paper. Fuck him and fuck Jay for cheerleading for him. Die, both of you.

and someone who broke news responsibly,

HEY YOU’RE GONNA SAY I HAD THIS ON TWITTER FIRST, RIGHT???????

covered games and press conferences on site, interviewed subjects, understood libel law and carried the profession with savvy.

/dead

Next, ESPN is trying an African-American site with an editor, Jason Whitlock, who isn’t liked by many African-American writers and is more comfortable in a strip joint than in any mentoring position. The site’s marquee hire so far was a white journalist, Mike Wise.

Come on Jay, don’t half-ass it. Tell us how you really feel. Heat up that taek, it’s a little lukewarm for you.

I appreciated my eight years at ESPN; the TV show was fun,

I’ll bet he signed a settlement agreement with ESPN that prevents him from saying the show's name.

and when I was on, the ratings were much higher and the banter much livelier.

Kill yourself.

But the culture is not conducive to doing one’s best work. It’s a political loony bin where Skipper, like Goodell, can’t maintain consistency in issuing disciplinary punishments. Seems he finally got one right Friday.

Again, as in the case with Jay, it was a mere five-to-ten years late.

And, no, I would not hire Bill Simmons at this news organization if he applied. Our standards are too high.

Aw, you mean the San Francisco Examiner, the country’s 58th most important newspaper, wouldn’t hire Bill? Pity. My guess is he lands at Bleacher Report and continues to grab a whole fucking shitload of eyeballs and pageviews.

Jay Mariotti is sports director and lead sports columnist at the San Francisco Examiner. He can be reached at jmariotti@sfexaminer.com. Read his website at jaymariotti.com.

Never. Never ever ever.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

When Mariotti attacks Simmons, everybody loses, part 1


I mean, not us, the sports-following public.  We all win in the sense that we get to laugh and one stupid asshole with "credentials" picking on another, more popular, stupid asshole without credentials.  But Bill and Jay most definitely both lose.

The Internet has perpetrated too much disarray in the world, 

Could have ended the article right here and actually made a decent point.  Also, get off his lawn and pull your pants up.

giving semi-lives to people with no lives 

Hopefully this is (besides being an obvious critique of YouTube celebrities, etc.) a veiled shot at the people who have exposed Jay as a violent, woman-hitting asshole.

and adding too many reckless, unqualified voices to the daily churn. 

First use of "qualified" or a synonym or related term: 23 words in.  Pay out the winner of your office pool accordingly.

The sports media business is no different. 

Different from what?  The internet?  The sports media business takes place almost entirely on the internet.  Jay of all people should know this, given that his own personal website was the only "outlet" that would hire him for about a six year period there.

A new century gave rise to sports websites that had to compete against legitimate journalists 

Buckle up!  Here we go!  This sentence is like getting pummeled in the face by a boxer whose gloves say OLD and MEDIA on them.

who actually broke news responsibly, 

I'm so tired of these unprofessional bloggers always breaking news irresponsibly!  Why, established media members like Chris Mortensen and Chad Ford and Ken Rosenthal and on and on and on never participate in the race to the bottom that is the effort to get a scoop.  Just because the "instant update" nature of the internet has dragged established media like those guys into its game doesn't mean you can go blaming blogs for it.  And better yet, this whole article is actually a complaint about Simmons, who hasn't broken a fart's worth of news in his whole career.

covered games and press conferences on site, 

Hahahahahahahahahhahaahahaaahhahahaha

interviewed subjects, 

Nothing like a HARD-HITTING Mike Wilbon interview/ball washing session to really get yourself inside the mind of a professional athlete.

understood libel/slander law

Subtext: Jay feels as though he has been the victim of libel and slander.  Reality: Jay has deserved each and every bad thing anyone has ever written or said about him, even the ones that weren't true.

and carried the profession with savvy.

Yes.  Savvy.  So much savvy.

So, to have any chance, many of these new sites went low-brow and hired fans with no training in anything but how to wear a personally customized jersey to an arena, drink three beers and cheer maniacally for one’s team.

Well now you sound like you're just complaining about Simmons and Bleacher Report (They were made for each other, weren't they?), when I really feel like we were building some momentum towards an anti-blogger rant.  Disappointing.

Bill Simmons, for instance.

At least Bill has never (to our knowledge) stalked or assaulted a woman.  Good for him.  Wait, is that libel?  Probably not, since Jay pleaded no contest to charges of both of those in 2011.

ESPN.com, then a digital embryo in a growing corporate empire, lured the eyeballs of sports fans by hiring one. Simmons had some talent, 

Mariotti admitting that Simmons has talent is kind of like a 6 year old admitting that his 8 year old brother is smarter than him.

spoke the fan language and understood the fan perspective, so the hire was a good one … as a blogging niche. But then ESPN did the inconceivable, unleashing him as a sportswriting monster who decided 6,000-word pieces without a quote — 6,000 words of literary masturbation — were good reads. 

Whoa, I have to admit it--all of a sudden Jay is bringing some FIRE.  GO JAY GO.

They were not good reads, 

HOW WILL WE LOOK BACK ON THE MOMENT WHERE WE REALIZED THEY WERE NOT GOOD READS 15 YEARS FROM NOW?  Also, Jay, you're a horrific writer yourself.  Your masturbatory articles just happen to be shorter than Bill's.

but at that point, anything with the ESPN stamp of approval seemed to succeed as the network claimed domination of the industry, 

I will mock Simmons for a lot of things, but one claim I will never make is that he "only obtained his success because he was piggybacking on ESPN's success" or something like that.  He earned all those fans on his own.  Most of them are dipshit morons who know nothing about sports and should never be conversed with, but still: he earned them.

whether it was a revolving all-night cycle of SportsCenter or the quieting of four sportswriters with a mute button on a debate show (I was on that show).

WERE YOU?  REMIND US.  What a monument to the professionalism and savviness of REAL SPORTSWRITERS that show is.

Sports fanboys began to read the fanboy sportswriter. Traffic grew. Advertisers bought in. Simmons wrote two masturbatory books, both best-sellers. Suddenly, it didn’t matter if he never broke news and never quoted anyone but himself and his cousin. 

All true.  Maybe your ire should be directed towards the people who made Bill popular, then, no?  The idiocracy of sports fans creates phenomena like Bill.  Additionally, it's more than worth pointing out that the only person to blame for Jay's lack of success is Jay.

ESPN created the original fanboy sportswriter, spawning a generation of fanboy sportswriters who also don’t know how to break news responsibly, interview subjects and cover sports properly.

I know I've used "hahahahahahaha" already a couple of times in this post, but seriously, how else do you respond to this?  Jay Mariotti just wrote that sentence.  THE Jay Mariotti.  July 2, 2006 Jay Mariotti.  He thinks today's new media sportswriters are irresponsible, shouldn't matter because they don't have ACCESS, and cover sports improperly.  What else do you say to that?

Friday, ESPN uncreated Simmons, choosing not to renew his contract.

VINDICATION!  Maybe they'll hire Jay to fill his shoes!

At long last, an embarrassing business might have a chance again.

Oh my God.  I can't keep going on this tonight.  Someone who simultaneously thinks that Bill only got popular because ESPN got popular first, yet is also to blame for all the shittiness that makes ESPN what it is today, should be placed in a spaceship and immediately shot into the sun.  Seriously, fuck both of these people.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A new low

At least I think it is.  Guess what's on the front page of ESPN.com right now?

Something related to the New England Patriots Official NFL Football Depressurization Scandal (my snappy nickname for it), which, while incredibly fucking stupid, is at least real, hard, sports news?  Surprisingly, nope.

Something related to the NBA, which uses ESPN as one of its broadcast partners, and is in the midst of a relatively exciting playoffs?  Again, surprisingly, nope.

Something related to MLB, which uses ESPN as one of its broadcast partners?  Nope.

Something related to the UEFA Champions League, which uses ESPN as one of its broadcast partners (outside the United States, anyways) and has a crucial semifinal match today?  Nope?

Something related to the NHL?  Well of course not.

No, here's the front cover story on America's most popular sports website during this exciting time to be a sports fan:




















Yeah, the more I consider it, the more I'm sure that this constitutes a new low.  Die in a fire, ESPN.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Not sure if...




...this is a good or bad thing.  In fact, I'm not even sure this will end up being a thing at all--wouldn't surprise me if they came to an 11th hour compromise, since Bill generates clicks and ESPN could give a flying cunt about anything other than clicks (and TV eyeballs).  But for now, I'm going to enjoy it.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, you fucking jackass.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

NBA WHO SAYS NO Rankings - Part 5 of 5


Alright folks, apologies for the delay(s)(s)(s).  We're here.  We made it.  Everyone huddle together and let's get this over with.

2. LeBron James


Let’s have one last round of applause for LeBron’s incredible eight-year run atop the Trade Value list.

[gif of the stadium groundskeeper from Rudy applauding after Rudy gets into the game]

That's what applause looks like!  Simmons is so corny and stupid he can't even properly emulate Buzzfeed.  Gifs added to writing like this are supposed to be reaction gifs, not just gifs that say the same thing the words do.  THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN LEBRON FALLS OUT OF THE TOP SPOT IN THE TRADE VALUE RANKINGS!

What happens next? The 30-year-old budding mogul has already logged more than 42,000 career minutes and played more than 1,050 games (including playoffs). 

I get that basketball will eventually wear down the human knees (and ankles, hips, wrists, etc.) but let's not obsess over minute or game counts.  LeBron has played 35,000 regular season minutes.  Plenty of guards have cleared 45,000 for their careers.

You know what that really means? 

IN TEN YEARS WHEN WE LOOK BACK ON LEBRON PASSING THE 42,000 MINUTE MARKER, HOW WILL WE REMEMBER IT?

Apex LeBron is gone. Here, look.

Seasons 1 through 4 (316 games)
41.3 mpg, 26.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 6.4 apg, 46-33-73%, 8.3 FTA, 3.3 TO, 24.2 PER, .181 WS/48

Seasons 5 through 11 (526 games)
38.4 mpg, 28.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 7.1 apg, 52-35-76%, 8.7 FTA, 3.3 TO, 30.1 PER, .283 WS/48

Ah, the always crucial (and very telling) "first four seasons as compared to next seven seasons" splits.

Playoff Career (158 games)
42.5 mpg, 28.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 6.4 apg, 48-33-76%, 9.7 FTA, 3.4 TO, 27.7 PER, .242 WS/48

Season 12 (57 games)
36.2 mpg, 26.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 7.4 apg, 49-35-72%, 8.0 FTA, 4.2 TO, 26.2 PER, .196 WS/48.

So, cool: he's on a new team, with new teammates, and his PER and win shares are down a bit.  He's mostly shooting the same as he did during his "apex years" (SEASONS 5 THROUGH 11 WHO SAYS NO) and scoring and dishing at basically the same rates.  He's turning the ball over a little more, and rebounding less.  That can probably be written off as a result of moving from a team with Wade and Bosh to a team with Kyrie, suddenly mediocre Kevin Love, and Mozgov (to soak up boards).

The good news: He’s still 85-90 percent as good as that seven-year apex, 

NO, EXACTLY 87.5%

keeping LeBron’s “best player in the league” ceiling the highest of anyone. I just don’t know where this goes. How long can LeBron stay great or even close to great?

He's 30.  Let's use our brain noodles and say "Well, on average, most great players stay great at least until they're 35 or so.  Therefore, LeBron can probably stay great until he's 35 or so."

In NBA history, only 35 guys have played more than 875 games and logged more than 34,000 minutes while averaging 35 minutes per game in their first 13 seasons. (Even though LeBron did it in 12, I added an extra year for everyone else because, you know, LeBron is superhuman.) Only 22 guys played more than 120 playoff games in their first 13 seasons while logging more than 5,000 playoff minutes and averaging 35 minutes per game. And only 12 guys cracked both lists: LeBron, Jordan, Wilt, Duncan, Russell, West, Bird, Pippen, Kobe, Hakeem, Malone and Havlicek.

And this goes to show (fart noise).

Wait a second … that’s a great list! 

Oh my gosh he's becoming self-aware!  He also still refuses to be edited!

We just ripped off 12 of the 25 best players ever. Just so I can sleep tonight, let’s include Dirk, Magic, Shaq, and Kareem as well, giving us 16 guys who passed 40,000 minutes (regular season and playoffs combined) in 13 years or less. That’s an insane day-to-day burden for anyone’s body, no matter how great you are. 

And now we're going in circles, chasing our tails (classic Klosterman writing technique, by the way) and we're probably going to end up concluding that LeBron is an all-time great, so he'll probably age like other all-time greats.

You’re talking about three-plus presidential terms of grinding out 80-100 games in eight to nine months (and carrying a huge burden, no less). 

Thank you for expressing that length of time in a way that the political nerds who don't follow sports can grasp.

After passing that benchmark, Kobe (four more first-team All-NBAs and a Finals MVP), Havlicek (second-team All-NBA and a ’76 Finals win), Duncan (two more Finals), Malone (1999’s MVP and two top-15 years after that), Shaq (first-team All-NBA and one more title in his 14th season), Dirk (third-team All-NBA in 2012, relevant even now) and Kareem (who doesn’t count because he was an alien) thrived for at least a little while. Nobody else did.

OK, so 7 of your arbitrarily chosen 16 players continued to be effective.  Cool.  I'm not even going to look up the post-40,000 minute stats of the other 9 guys, because I'm sure some of them achieved something significant past that point and Bill is just omitting them to prove his thesis of (fart nose).

But 50,000 combined minutes? That’s the danger number. Kareem passed 50,000 during the 1983-84 season, won the 1985 Finals MVP and remained relevant through ’88 (back-to-back titles), but again, he wasn’t human. Duncan passed that mark last season, then helped San Antonio win 2014’s title. (Of course, he’s also an alien.) 

So, Duncan and Kareem don't count for this exercise because they don't count for this exercise.  But LeBron won't be like them because he's not like them, or presumably not like them, even though you only really know if you're like those guys until you get to where they were in terms of minutes.  This is the level of analysis usually provided by a drunk guy watching TV alone at a sports bar at 2 PM on a weekday.  We are learning nothing, other than "playing pro sports tends to get harder as you get older, although certain players decline more suddenly than other players."  Which is pretty much (fart noise).

No non-center remained a star after 50,000 minutes except for Kobe; he passed that mark during the 2012 playoffs, then thrived offensively the following season right until his Achilles snapped in half. These things don’t end well. I think Kobe knew it too. That last season, he could feel his body breaking down and turned into Quint from Jaws: 

He grew a mustache and started hunting sharks.  Totally agreed.  Flawless analogy.

He started revving his boat’s engine until smoke began pouring out. 

Ah yes, so "turning into Quint from Jaws" means "doing this one thing that that character did for like 30 seconds in a 3 hour movie."  Even when he's making pop culture references, i.e. doing the one thing he should be best at doing, he's fucking atrocious.

He knew. He had to know.

Awesome writing.  Since you have so much access these days, Mr. Big Shot, why don't you just go ask Kobe to his face?  Better yet, ask him if he knew it after the 6 for 24 game in 2010.

Here’s the point: History says LeBron has two elite seasons left after this one, maybe three. That’s it. And you wondered why he didn’t want to wait around for Andrew Wiggins.

No one wondered that.  Literally no one.  A lot of people questioned that trade a couple months into the season, when Wiggins showed himself to be NBA-capable already and Love wasn't playing well, but when the Cavs made that trade, literally no one on earth who knows what a basketball looks like said "WHOA!  WHY DID THE CAVS JUST DO THAT?  IS LEBRON OUT OF HIS MIND?"

On the other hand … LeBron is only 30 years old. That’s the same age as Scarlett Johansson, Matt Cain, Mandy Moore, Adam Morrison, Katy Perry, Rick Nash and Purple Rain. 

So glad you consulted the Wikipedia page for 1984 before writing this.  Really brings it home to the reader.

When Bird turned 30, he was the reigning back-to-back-to-back MVP. When Jordan turned 30, he was four months away from finishing off his first three-peat. When Magic turned 30, he was getting ready for his third MVP season in four years. Doesn’t it seem insane to think that LeBron is passing his prime at THIRTY? Then again, only Kobe crossed 40,000 minutes before turning 31, but it happened over 13 years (not 12 like LeBron), and he didn’t take nearly the same physical night-to-night pounding. So who the heck knows?

Jesus fucking Christ on a fucking tightrope.  What did I tell you Bill was going to do here?  What did I JUST say was going to be the outcome of all of this?  I hate writing this blog.

Either LeBron will make history, or history will catch up to him. It’s one or the other. 

FASCINATING.  Go fuck yourself with a ice pick, Simmons.  You suck.

Just know that he’s no longer our most untradable player. For the first time, you can see a finish line for LeBron James. Unlike …

1. Anthony Davis

So, LeBron is almost certainly going to opt out of his current deal this summer and grab a new one (regardless of the Cavs playoff outcome).  But Davis can enter free agency in the summer of 2016.  I hate to indulge Bill's stupid rules for this stupid exercise, but since we've made it all the way to #1, I will just this once.  If back in January, the Cavs called the Pelicans and offered LeBron, with confirmation that LeBron wanted that trade to happen for whatever reason (i.e., he was just as excited about playing in New Orleans as he presumably is playing in Cleveland now, and would be just as likely to sign long term either this summer or next summer), you don't think the Pelicans would take that trade?  I don't know, they're a young-ish team, but they're not THAT young.  Other than Davis their best players (Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson) are all in their mid 20s.  To an extent, they're built to win now.  I dunno.  Food for thought.  I hate myself for spending 90 seconds typing this.  As Bill would say, let's just move on.

In 2007’s Trade Value column, I wrote that “2007 LeBron and 2007 [Dwight] Howard are more untradeable than anyone in the seven-year history of this ‘Trade Value’ column, 

WHO SAID NO?

even surpassing (gulp) 2001 Shaq and 2003 Duncan.” 

This whole goddamn thing is so dumb.  He's like a little kid playing with Legos and making a Lego town and then arguing with no one about who in Legotown has the best house.  It's simpleminded mental masturbation.  The fact that this guy's book sold a jillion copies is a fantastic indication of how goddamn pathetic America is.

Eight years later, you’d have to belatedly cram 2015 Davis into that sentence while crossing your fingers nice and hard. 

OH GOD BE SURE TO CROSS YOUR FINGERS!  WHAT IF YOU'RE WRONG?

Why? 

No reason at all, fuckface.

Look what happened to the 2007 guys. LeBron has become a four-time MVP, a two-time champ and one of the best 10 players ever. Dwight has made only one Finals and never won an MVP, and started breaking down four years later. 

It's like we just learned: sometimes, players age well and sometimes, they don't.  Awesome.

You never know. 

It's one or the other.  You never know.  What do you want, real analysis?  Skilled writing?  A writer who isn't a self-obsessed prick?  Don't be greedy.

It’s 50-50 once a young star reaches anything-is-possible status. 

EXACTLY 50-50

You need injury luck, you need the right situation, and you need the player to want it. For every Shaq, there’s a Dwight. For every Magic, there’s a Penny. For every Kareem, there’s a Walton. For every Duncan, there’s a C-Webb. For every Kobe, there’s a Derrick Rose.

STRONG TAKE!

I'm probably not going to make it to the end of this, just FYI.  I'm actually getting upset while writing a blog post that like 50 people will read and for which I won't be paid a cent.  This is not fun.

So cross your fingers for the Brow. Nice and hard.

I'm not a Pelicans fan.  I'm not a Kentucky fan.  I like Davis just fine.  But if he did end up like Dwight (or Penny or Walton or whoever), it would matter about as much to me as whether my shit tomorrow morning was pleasant or uncomfortable.  Life in the NBA will move on.  It always does.  I hate it when people (especially sportswriters, the worst people on earth) try to make everyone think they should feel bad because an athlete didn't achieve his maximum potential.  (See: Rose's injury struggles, Westbrook's team being too shitty to play in the postseason this year, etc.)  GO FUCK YOURSELVES.

He just turned 22 years old and hasn’t even played 6,500 career minutes yet. 

WHY, HE COULD BE AN ALIEN AT SOME POINT IF HE KEEPS THIS UP!

He’s the best screen-and-roller since Young Robinson. Longer arms than McHale. Freakocious athlete like Hakeem. Light on his feet like Young Duncan. Drains 20-footers like Bosh. Protects the paint like KG. I don’t know what else you’d want. Jordan (24 years old at the time), LeBron (24), T-Mac (23) and Davis (right now) are the only under-25 players to post PERs over 30. He’s also one of three under-25 guys (along with ’90 Robinson and ’74 Bob McAdoo) to average 24 and 10 with 2.5 blocks and 1.0 steals. And if he came along 35 years ago, he’d probably be a senior at Kentucky right now.

Haha, now, that last point is actually pretty awesome to think about.  Jesus.  I mean, the level of play all across NCAAB would increase, especially at its upper ranks, if nearly all players stayed for four years.  But still: imagine 2014-15 Anthony Davis playing in the SEC.  That would be hilarious.

And look, I don’t know how this will play out. 

YOU NEVER KNOW.  IT'S ONE OR THE OTHER.  50-50.  BUY THE BOOK OF BASKETBALL TODAY ON AMAZON.

But I have been attending NBA games since the 1973-74 season, back when my father carried me as a tiny 4-year-old into Boston Garden and hoped that I would fall in love with the sport. I did. 

Boy, I guess you're just as qualified to speculate about unpredictable bullshit as the rest of us then!  Please continue!

Over the next 41 years (and counting), I watched maybe 25 up-and-coming stars who just seemed different from everyone else. Young Durant was all arms and legs, and he weighed about 20 pounds, but he had that crazy release and you just knew something unforgettable would happen with him. Young Hakeem and Young Robinson were Greek gods; they moved at a different speed, and with a different level of coordination, than anyone I had ever seen. Young Duncan had those beautiful feet; he just glided effortlessly wherever he wanted to go.

So, your point is that you have watched great players that everyone knows were great and almost everyone agreed were great at the time be great.

Young MJ was indescribable; I’m not even going to betray the experience by cramming it into one sentence. 

I'm pretty tempted to end the experience of reading any more of these sentences by running in front of a moving tow truck.

Young Kobe and Young Penny looked like MJ and Magic had cloned themselves just for kicks. Young Shaq was unfair around the basket; you couldn’t keep him away from the rim unless you had a two-by-four. Young Barkley was a bowling ball crossed with a runaway train. Young C-Webb looked like a combination of everything you’d ever liked about every power forward you’d ever liked. Young LeBron looked and played like he was 28 already; he’s the surest thing I have ever seen, a true prodigy in every sense.

So, your point is STILL that you have watched great players that everyone knows were great and almost everyone agreed were great at the time be great.

So that’s the first stage: the old Gladwell Blink test, 

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA there are like 200 more words in this article but I'm going to end it right here.  I think that's a great stopping point for us on this brutally painful journey.  How can you tell if Anthony Davis is good?  Well, first read 250 pages of nothingness by some asshole pop scientist whose ideas are about as original as Bill's.  That's stage one.

I hate Bill Simmons.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NBA WHO SAYS NO Rankings - Part 4 of 5


Before we get started, let me just remind you that ESPN and its incessant NFL draft coverage can go piss up a rope and die of AIDS.  And also OMYGOD as I type this, the NFL schedule is being released.  I know everyone is on pins and needles like I am: is my team going to play six divisional games, four games against the NFC division we last played in 2011, four games against the AFC division we last played in 2012, and finally two additional games against the two teams in the other two AFC divisions that finished in the same place in the division that we did last year?  There's really no way to tell--I should probably tune into ESPN to watch this big reveal.  God, fuck the NFL.  Moving on.

GROUP A: “Completely and Utterly Untouchable”

5. Russell Westbrook
4. James Harden
3. Stephen Curry

For the first time in the history of my Sports Guy column, 

You're going to provide analysis that isn't self-important, isn't full of idiotic pop culture references, and most of all isn't terrible?

we’re dusting off the old Dr. Jack Breakdown gimmick and turning it into a threesome. 

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

I’m gonna throw my Eyes Wide Shut mask on, take a half-Viagra, throw down two glasses of wine and really get into this. 

Hey, that's kind of a funny "pop" (term used loosely here) culture reference with the Eyes Wide Shut thing.  It's also very self-important and I'm sure it will be terrible, but one out of three isn't bad.

Please, I implore you, for your own safety, don’t try this at home. I’m a professional. 

Go fuck an elephant.

Anyway …

SALARIES: Harden (signed through 2017-18) and Westbrook (signed through 2016-17) are max guys earning $16 million to $17 million per season … a paltry number in two summers when the NBA salary cap starts taking steroids and HGH, 

LIKE KOBE AMIRITE????????????????

but still. Meanwhile, Golden State has Curry locked down for $10.63 million (this season), $11.37 million (2015-16), and $12.1 million (2016-17). He won’t make as much money over those three years as Marcin Gortat. Anytime someone can make $11 million per year and you feel bad for them, you know they’re a bargain. ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

Curry signed that deal just before the start of the 2012-2013 season.  He had been injured for much of the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season, playing in just 26 games and averaging a paltry 14 and 5.  Looks like one of those "it makes sense for both sides" contracts, really, since Curry would have been wise to take some guaranteed money, and the Warriors were paying him, at the very worst, to be a three point specialist.  Whelp, guess it worked out for the Warriors.  As a Nuggets fan I hate them, but I do love parity and fresh blood in the winner's circle so I wouldn't mind seeing them win a title this year.  JUST this year.  After that, fuck them.  Every important player on that team besides Curry and Bogut is a flaming cuntrag.  Also, if they pull it off, it'll be just the fifth title since 1991 (exceptions: that goofy 2004 Pistons team, the 2006 Heat team that had Shaq and Wade and every call in the Finals, THE FAWKIN' 2008 UBUNTUS, and the magical LeBron-defeating 2011 Mavericks) won by a team that didn't have Jordan, Olajuwon, Kobe, LeBron or Duncan.  And if Jordan hadn't gone to play baseball (IT WAS A SECRET GAMBLING SUSPENSION WHO SAYS NO????) we might be able to take Olajuwon off that list.  The more you know.

BEST GIMMICK: 

Oh yeah, this is crucial.  So glad we made it here after hitting all the important categories like "Salaries" and "nothing else."  BUT WHICH ONE OF THEM WOULD YOU WANT TO WATCH CASTAWAY WITH?

Sorry, fellas, you’re not topping Harden’s beard. Greatest NBA facial hair of all time in no particular order: 

Oh no you don't, buddy.  No cutting corners here.  I expect these lists to have a set order upon which any basketball worth a damn would definitely agree.

Wilt’s goatee; Bird’s wispy almost-mustache; [rest of list deleted]

I'm just going to stop you right there.  Thanks so much for your time.

SHEER AWESOMENESS OF THEIR CONVENTIONAL 2014-15 NUMBERS:Spectacular all the way around. Through Sunday’s games …

Westbrook 27.5 ppg 8.3 apg 7.2 rpg 2.1 spg 43-30-84% 9.4 FTA 3.7 3FGA
Harden 26.9 ppg 7.1 apg 5.8 rpg 1.9 spg 44-38-87% 9.8 FTA 6.7 3FGA
Curry 23.6 ppg 7.8 apg 4.4 rpg 2.2 spg 48-42-90% 4.3 FTA 8.0 3FGA

And Westbrook finished even hotter than that.  I hate him, he's a dick, I've definitely written here before that he is overrated, but damn.  Not sure I am going to ever write that again.

Some highlights: Westbrook working on the third 27-8-7 with a 30-plus PER in NBA history (the other two: 1989 MJ and 2013 LeBron) … 

He ended up just missing, with a 29.1 PER.

Steph knocking on the door of the 50-40-90 Club while jacking up a staggering EIGHT 3s per game (good luck ever seeing that again) … 

Just missed, shooting 48.7% from the floor.  But Steve Nash pulled off 50-40-90 twice while shooting between 4 and 5 threes per game.  I don't think it's some kind of Cy Young's win total unbreakable record.

Harden trying to become the first lefty 

OK, for fuck's sake, I appreciate that this breakdown category isn't dedicated to something as inane as facial hair, but this isn't baseball.  Who gives a flying sloppy fuck about basketball player handedness when it comes to statistical achievements?

to average 27, 7 and 6 

Just missed--only 5.7 boards.

while also trying to become the third player (after Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas) to attempt 500 3s AND 750 free throws (the 500/750 Club!) … 

He got there easily.  Man, that guy gets to the line.  I thought there was a chance Curry was close to this as well, but not even.  He only attempted 337 FTs.

did I mention that Westbrook is a guard and he’s averaging eight freaking rebounds per 36 minutes? … my God, look at that Westbrook season!!!!!! Are those numbers real? Can we check the math again? ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

I'm going with Curry, given that he did what he did on a team that had plenty of other good players, while Westbrook, minus Durant and Ibaka for chunks of time, was really the only guy on the Thunder capable of scoring or assisting.  But there's probably no wrong answer here.  WHAT IF WESTBROOK WAS LEFT HANDED THOUGH, CAN YOU EVEN IMAGE?!?!?!?!!

SHEER AWESOMENESS OF THEIR ADVANCED 2014-15 NUMBERS: Some of this stuff is bat-shit crazy. Through Sunday’s games


Westbrook 29.7 PER 38.4 usage 53.9% TS 6.6 RPM 8.4 WS; .234 WS/48
Harden 26.6 PER 30.9 usage 60.8% TS 8.51 RPM 13.2 WS .265 WS/48
Curry 27.8 PER 28.7 usage 62.9% TS 8.55 RPM 12.4 WS .286 WS/48

Some highlights: Steph’s WS/48 will be top 20 all time … 

He ended at .2881, 19th all time.

we’ve had only 17 30-plus PER seasons and 86 27-plus PER seasons (and Westbrook is knocking on the door), as well as just three guards who have cracked 30 PER (MJ, Wade and T-Mac) … 

Westbrook didn't make it, but Anthony Davis (who finishes at #1 in these rankings, deservedly so) did.  Make that eighteen 30+ PER seasons.

only Kevin Johnson (in 1997) ever averaged 20 points and eight assists with a 63 percent true shooting percentage … 

OK, you're starting to really reach now.  Also, as the three ball becomes more and more popular and players shoot it better and better, TS% league wide among guards should continue to increase.

West, Magic, Jordan, Oscar and CP3 are the only guards to ever finish a season with 16 win shares … 

Ah, the coveted 16 win share cutoff point.  Both Harden and Chris Paul made it this year.

and if we want to get super-fancy, Harden leads the NBA in points per game on drives and has assisted on more made 3s than anyone … 

I think I also wrote on this blog several times back in 2012 that contrary to what Simmons said, the Thunder didn't commit some kind of sin against humanity when they traded Harden.  I'm not going to take that back, because in-the-moment analysis is in-the-moment analysis and I stand by the idea that the trade was justifiable at the time, but wow.  Harden is really, really good, and the Thunder traded him for really, really nothing.

and Westbrook’s usage rate is threatening to break 2006 Kobe’s all-time NBA record (not necessarily a positive). 

He came up juuuuuuuuuust short, 38.7 to 38.4.  That Kobe team made the playoffs, though, which proves something, but I'm really not sure what.  So I'll just go ahead and remind you that Simmons is a fucktard.

I give Curry’s season a slight edge for its unselfish efficiency and efficient unselfishness. SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

Really awesome wordplay there, Kerouac.  Knocked that one out of the park.

MOST MANAGEABLE GLARING WEAKNESS: Golden State hides Curry on D as much as possible, but he’s a better and smarter defender than people realize. (Maybe he’s not Chris Paul on that end, but he’s not Damian Lillard either.) 

Ooooooooh. Cold blooded.  Lillard had basically the same defensive advanced metrics (defensive rating per 100 possessions and defensive win shares) as Westbrook this year, and was only slightly worse than Curry and Harden.

Westbrook plays with so much confidence/swagger/ferocity that he can’t stop going into 2006 Kobe mode, especially late in games, which is the best and the worst thing about him. 

More top-notch writing from this guy who gets paid to use words to express ideas.  Klosterman probably thinks that sentence is nectar from the Gods.

(I mean, are YOU gonna tell Westbrook not to shoot every time? I didn’t think so.) 

Aw snap!  In your face, readers!

And Harden’s night-to-night defense used to be somewhere between “reprehensible” and “he’s trolling us,” but he took enough guff that he actually started trying on both ends this season. Great for the Rockets; terrible for everyone who loved reading 1,200-post NBA Reddit threads centered on GIFs of Harden standing in cement as his man darted by him for a layup. He’s the most well rounded of the three. ADVANTAGE: HARDEN.

Indeed, the metrics bear it out.  Harden had more defensive win shares than the other two guys.

BEST NICKNAME: I enjoy “The Beard” and like “The Splash Brothers” a tiny bit more. 

Both of those are terrible, especially since one is a reference to a video game that was most popular ten years ago.

But you know how you’d never call Liam Neeson “Liam” or “Neeson,” or nickname him, like, “Li” or “The Angry Irishman”? He’s just “Liam Neeson,” right? Same for Russell Westbrook. He’s too cool for a nickname. He’s transcended nicknames.

That's simply untrue.  I have heard many commentators and dozens of NBA fans call him "Russ" this season.  You're making stuff up again, Bill.

Damn, I’m at capacity for Liam Neeson references in this column already. ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

You've been at capacity for references to anything other than sports since 2002.

ONE-MAN-WRECKING-CREWNESS: 

Pretty dumb category (not that most of the rest of these aren't).

Um, Westbrook threw up 40-13-11, 39-14-11, 49-15-10, 30-11-17, 36-11-6 and 48-9-11 just in the past five weeks. Curry and Harden can eviscerate opposing defenses — and have — but only Westbrook makes you feel like you’re watching Lia— whoops, 

HIGH FIVE!

like you’re watching a WWE star sprint into a crowded Royal Rumble ring 

Yes, basketball is wrestling is basketball is Taken.  Couldn't agree more.

and immediately start clearing it out. He doesn’t need a nickname, but he might need his own entrance music. ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

Topping off the wrestling motif there, with another wrestling reference.  Great stuff.

BEST QUALITY AS A TEAMMATE: Harden is a famously fun off-the-court guy — the kind of star who seems like he’d stay out with a new teammate until 6 a.m. and, um, show him around. 

He's not going to be your friend, Bill.  Let it go.

Westbrook would fight for any teammate or coach on and off the court; he even holds grudges on the level of, Even though Grantland has thrown more love my way than toward Kanye and Drake combined, I’m not appearing on the All-Star Break B.S. Report because Simmons is the asshole who keeps bringing up the Harden trade and saying that Scott Brooks isn’t good enough. (By the way — guilty!)

YOU'RE NOT THE CENTER OF THE FUCKING UNIVERSE YOU NAVEL-GAZING DIPSHIT!  JESUS CHRIST ON A FUCKING TRICYCLE

But Curry is turning into this generation’s Tim Duncan — an unselfish superstar who doesn’t want to be an alpha dog, 

I like Curry just fine, and I don't think this is a bad thing to say about him, but he most definitely wants to be an alpha dog.

pulls for everyone else at all times, 

That's what 99% of all pro athletes do.

has an infectious personality 

Duncan has an infectious personality?

and lacks any semblance of an ego. 

Yeah, those walk-away-before-the-ball-reaches-the-rim threes really scream "quiet guy who just wants to get the job done."  Again, not that that's a bad thing.  If I shot 48% from three, I'd do it too.  But what in the holy hell is Bill talking about?

I loved that he loved Klay Thompson’s 37-point Über–Heat Check quarter more than anyone. 

Who, among every player in the NBA, wouldn't have loved that if Thompson was their teammate?  What is this garbage?

He’s the best player on a team with phenomenal chemistry. That matters. SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

Excellent paragraph.  Full of sound, fury, and nothingness.

NIGHT-TO-NIGHT YOUTUBE/GIF/MEME/VINE POTENTIAL:

All of them.  Who gives a flying fuck?  It's 2015.  We all can watch all of their highlights every night.  It's not like there's limited space on the internet for them.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING/STEALS: Good place to save some words. ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

"Good place to admit that I actually don't know that much about basketball."

DURABILITY: Here, too. ADVANTAGE: HARDEN.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR GIRLFRIENDS?  WHOSE IS HOTTEST?  WHY AM I READING THIS IF I DON'T GET TO SEE THEIR PICTURES?

POPULARITY: 

Yahtzee!

Big year for Curry — not only did he fetch the most All-Star votes, but LeBron’s departure from Miami allowed Golden State to become the NBA’s biggest bandwagon team. If your child is under 10 and searching for a hoops team that not-so-coincidentally might have a chance to win multiple titles, or you’re one of those secretly shady NBA fans-for-hire who drifts around from contender to contender because “I just root for players I like,” or you’re a casual fan who just likes watching dunks and 3s and that’s it, or you grew up in the Bay Area and wore a Warriors hat for 10 minutes when you were 8 years old back in the 1990s, then we have the bandwagon contender just for you! 

And there's your one place in the whole column where Bill actually says something funny.  Drink it up, people.

And yes, my daughter jumped on the Warriors bandwagon a few months ago. They’re irresistable. They’re bandwagon catnip. ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

Fuck those GSW fans.  They're horrible.  Even the long-suffering mainstays.  Fuck 'em all.

MEDIA SAVVY: You’d think Curry would win this in a landslide. 

You'd think, wouldn't you?  Finally, something fans really need to read more about.

But what about Westbrook’s tough-love strategy? 

YES, WHAT OF IT?  THIS IS FASCINATING.

I kind of dig it. Total dick for a week, goes generic for a week, becomes nice and thoughtful the next week. He’s like the arrogant, hard-to-get ladies’ man in a rom-com who keeps playing the frazzled-but-successful woman in his office who’s way too cute not to have a boyfriend (only she’s all about her work and her home life is a mess). 

That's how you think of yourself, isn't it?

Russell thanked us today! What does this mean? Does he like me? I love Russell Westbrook. 

Barf

If he punched me in the face the next time I saw him, I’d probably justify it by saying, “I probably deserved that.” Wait … don’t actually do that, Russell. SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: WESTBROOK.

No one cares.

MOST ANNOYING QUALITY:

Tie among all three of them, for being discussed extensively in this article.  Done and done.

BEST “WHAT IF?” BACKSTORY: 

WHAT WILL WE THINK ABOUT THESE POTENTIAL BACKSTORIES IN TEN YEARS WHEN THEY HAVE BECOME NON-STORIES?

Curry almost got traded to the Suns during the 2010 draft; nearly got dealt to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut; and could have ended up in Minnesota had David Kahn not taken Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn over him. Westbrook trumps Curry with the whole “What if OKC never traded James Harden?” question lingering over his entire OKC tenure like a pungent fart on an airplane. 

I agree with the very mild intrigue of the Curry stuff.  The Westbrook stuff: sorry Bill, but the Harden trade isn't about Westbrook.  It's about Harden.  Let's see if he can get there...

And James Harden IS the James Harden from the previous sentence. ADVANTAGE: HARDEN.

He made it!  Go Bill go!

SWAGGER WHILE WALKING DOWN A RUNWAY BEFORE AN ESPN GAME DURING THOSE LUDICROUSLY LONG CAMERA SHOTS THAT

Don't care, we're skipping this category, you're not funny.

UNIQUENESS FACTOR: Brutal category. 

Totally brutal.  Oh wait, who gives a fucking runny shit?

Westbrook is basically Jim Brown 50 years later with basketball shorts on. 

Basically like literally OMG that's so what he is I can't even

And I just compared him to Teen Wolf 

Check that spot on your bingo cards, people.

and a poisoned movie character who uses so much of her brain that she becomes a robot, then turns invisible. 

I lost whatever reference he was making in copying and pasting this over to Blogger and removing the formatting--I can't guess it, and don't even want to know.

Somehow, I have him ranked third. 

He's a great athlete, who plays like another great athlete from a while ago, and a fictional great athlete from a bad movie.  So unique.

Curry is the greatest shooter I have ever seen in my life; he’s like Maravich reincarnated crossed with Steve Nash crossed with some sports movie character that hasn’t been invented yet. Somehow, I have him ranked second. 

He's a basketball player who is good at shooting basketballs into basketball hoops.  So unique.

And Harden is a true original – I’m half-convinced that Dork Elvis, Goldsberry and Hollinger wanted to see if there could be a superior and much more durable American version of Manu Ginobili, so they created Harden in an MIT lab in 2007 during the first-ever Sloan Conference. A left-handed scorer/creator who cares only about getting to the rim, getting fouled or shooting 3s?

He's just like this other guy who is about ten years older and also plays in the NBA.  So unique.

Important note:

No.  Moving on.

“SEEING THEM IN PERSON” FACTOR: Christ. This one isn’t fair, especially with Westbrook in Jim Brown/Bo Jackson/Young LeBron/Lucymode right now. But I saw Curry in Brooklyn earlier this month, and lemme tell you something: 

Hey, let us tell you something: most of us don't just travel around watching basketball as part of our jobs.  If we can make it to the arena nearest where we live when the Rockets, Thunder or Warriors are in town: great.  If not: we'll watch them on TV like everyone else.  You out of touch stereotype of an asshole journalist.

There is nothing — repeat, nothing — more exciting as an NBA fan right now than being in the house when Steph Curry is feeling it. Bird had the same quality, by the way. 

IT AWWWWWWL COMES BACK TO THE FACKIN' C'S!  I BET YOU THOUGHT IT WOULDN'T!  FACK YOU!

And these Curry shots are SWISHING. That’s the other thing. 

Not as SWISHINGLY as LEGEND'S, but they're still SWISHING.

When it starts happening, the energy in the building actually shifts and becomes something else. 

More exemplary use of the English language.  This guy knows how to paint a beautiful piece of shit with words.

It’s tangible. His teammates rise from their bench. 

Something unseen anywhere else in pro sports!

The fans start buzzing like they’re waiting for a band to make a Coachella entrance or something. 

MAYBE YOU HAVEN'T HEARD BUT BILL LIVES IN SOCAL NOW

Everyone stands because you simply have to stand. 

No, everyone stands because it's exciting, which happens all the time in every sport.

And all the limits of the sport we thought we understood get briefly removed. 

Barf

It’s amazing. Utterly, completely amazing. 

Barf barf

If you have the money and the Warriors are passing through your city, go see Steph Curry. 

Oh, you can't see them in person whenever you want?  Pity.  Perhaps you need a more connected family to get your media career off the ground.

You want to be there if he starts feeling it. Trust me. 

"You wouldn't know from watching on TV, peasant."

ADVANTAGE: CURRY.

I'm not even finishing this fucking segment of this shitstain of an article.  Here are the categories you missed, and the correct picks each:

NIGHT-TO-NIGHT COMPETITIVENESS: 

All of them, regardless of the fact that Westbrook looks meaner than the other two.

GUY YOU’D MOST WANT FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS: 

All of them.

MOST VALUABLE RIGHT NOW:

Curry, I'd guess, but you can't pick wrong.

MEANING TO THEIR CITY:

NONE OF THEM, BECAUSE NONE OF THEM PLAY IN BEANTOWN AND THEY-AHFO-AH, NONE OF THEM AHHHH PROPAHLY APPRECIATED!

I'll wrap it up with LeBron and Anthony Davis in the next post.  Seriously, fuck Bill Simmons and fuck anyone who reads him for any reason other than to complain about him.