Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Kwanzaa

Today marks the beginning of Kwanzaa. If you celebrate this holiday, good for you.

Please note that I refrained from showing one of my favorites, the Charlie Brown Kwanzaa.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Some thoughts on the Mark Teixeira deal

So the Yankees continued to be the winners of the offseason so far by signing first baseman Mark Teixeira to the not-so-small sum of $180 over 8 years. This contract makes him the the 3rd highest paid player ever in baseball history after the $275 million given to Alex Rodriguez, and the $189 million given to Derek Jeter. Incidentally, the 4th largest contract ever is CC Sabathia's newly signed $161 million contract. Yes this means that the Yankees now have the 4 highest paid players in baseball history on their team at one time. In addition the Yankees have committed approximately $424 million to new players this offseason. That, my friends, is a butt-load of cash. The Yankees have become, well, the Yankees...their spending has gotten to the point that only a handful of teams can even begin to think of out-bidding them for a free agent. Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio went so far as to say, "At the rate the Yankees are going, I'm not sure anyone can compete with them. Frankly, the sport might need a salary cap."

Now a few of my thoughts.

First, to address Teixeira the player and his acquisition. Mark Teixeira is the best firstbaseman in baseball not named Pujols and one of the best players in the world, period. Tex is 28, so right in his prime as a player. He's an excellent athlete. A switch hitter who sees practically no dropoff switching between right and left, Teixeira has a career OBP of .378 and a career SLG of .541, both absurd numbers. His 162-game averages for his career come out to 40 doubles, 36 homeruns, 79 walks, and a .919 OPS. Perhaps just as importantly, Teixeira posted an other-worldly 1.120 OPS after the All Star break last year, making him the kind of hot second-half performer that any playoff contender such as the Yankees crave. On top of all this, Teixeira is arguably the best defensive first bagger in baseball. This means that the Yankees now have one of the historically great tandems on the corners in baseball history, pairing the best firstbaseman in the American League with the best thirdbaseman in baseball, ARod, a player who may be the best ever by the time he's done. So from a baseball standpoint, this is a no-brainer and one every team would make were it not for money.

But does this make the Yankees the World Series winners? No. After all, there's a reason games are played on the field and not on paper. But this signing does make the Yankees certainly contenders not to be trifled with. Some good things: the front three of the rotation (Sabathia, Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang), Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain (a positive in the rotation, but better suited in the bullpen), the aforementioned corner tandem, Derek Jeter (slipping, but still one of the more productive offensive shortstops out there). That's a lot of good, certainly enough to make most teams jealous. But now the bad: the back end of the rotation (Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy? the Bronx better hope they can sign someone else...Andy Pettitte might be the answer but I wouldn't count on it), the rest of the bullpen, Jorge Posada (they're banking on a return to form, I'm banking on him being an old-as-hell catcher who just isn't going to be that good anymore), the outfield (decent with the stick...but can anybody move out there? plus Johnny Damon still throws like my grandmother immediately following rotator-cuff surgery), Robinson Cano (was last year a fluke, or is he really the least motivated, laziest sonofabitch to ever step on the field?), what happens when some of these older guys get hurt? To be sure, that's a lot of questions. So no, the Yankees aren't invincible...heck, if the Red Sox don't suffer any major injuries and the Rays continue the development of their young players, the Yankees might even miss the playoffs again.

But now to address the economics and Mr. Attanasio's comments. Quit your bitching.

Baseball doesn't need a salary cap. The two biggest arguments in favor of a salary cap are that having no cap is unfair because it kills everybody's chance and that having no cap allows player salaries to get ridiculous and they don't deserve that money. As for the second argument, yes but no. Do professional athlete's deserve millions of dollars to play what amounts to nothing more than a game? On the surface, of course not. Athletes are entertainers, a profession that fills a luxury for society, unlike, say, a doctor or a teacher or a soldier, who serves a direct purpose and makes much less money. But let's examine this. Sure the absolute best make more money than they could ever know what to do with. But the average athlete doesn't make as much. They still may make a couple million dollars a year, but for how long? The average pro sports career doesn't last that long, usually less than 5 years, and rarely more than 15. On the other hand, the average doctor could theoretically work from the time he leaves Med school until he dies; a period certainly much longer than 15 years. Imagine the average pro-athlete, while others were focusing on schooling and getting a degree or honing a skill set that would serve them for 30+ years of earning, the athlete was working on skills that, if they're lucky and really good, might serve them for 10 years of earning. But let's forget that for a moment and just examine simple market economics. Shouldn't somebody make a fair portion of whatever money they bring in for a company? That's a core of capitalism, the best economic system in the world (don't believe me? the most successful economies are all essentially capitalistic: USA, Germany, Japan, Great Brittain, France, even China...look it up) It's Darwin's survival of the fittest applied to earning: those who are best prepared to contribute are those who will earn the most. Baseball teams make tons of money providing entertainment to millions of fans each year. It should follow then, if Joe Baseballer brings in $20 million in revenue because of his performance and his ability to make his team more popular, he has earned, let's say, $10 million. Sports is not a broken pay system...if you want to look for a broken system, examine the film industry: every year dozens of movies lose money and yet actors get paid millions.

But isn't it unfair that the Yankees can outspend everyone? To some extent, yes. The Yankees benefit from playing in the largest media market in the world. They've benefitted from historical greatness. And certainly having nearly endless funds allow them to give themselves a head-start over others. But the Yankees didn't just luck into this. They're in a position of success because they're one of the best-run franchises in baseball. They've maximized their historical mystique in terms of revenue (something the Red Sox failed to do until the early part of this decade, go ahead, ask owner John Henry). They've created their own cable network, another source of revenue. They're opening up a brand-new ballpark, yet another revenue stream. Oh, and they're pretty good at developing players. As of today, 29 members of the Yankee's 40 man roster have spent significant time in the Yankee's farm system or were developed entirely by the team. That's almost 3/4ths. Let's compare that to the Minnesota Twins, a small-market team known for their player development: 28 out of 40. WHAT?!?!?!?! The big, bad Yankees who buy everyone actually have more of their own players than the Twins do?

Going a little further, explain how it is unfair. A friend of mine, a person who's sports opinion I respect greatly, recently argued that the situation is similar to if he and I and my 3 other roommates tried to play a game of basketball against the starting 5 of the Maryland Terrapins (our mutual university). Obviously we would get killed. But this isn't the same. For one, the two teams aren't picking from the same pool. The Maryland players have already been determined as basketball players, and the 5 of us have already been determined as "not" basketball players. In major league free agency, every player has been determined as a professional. His argument is also flawed for the simple reason that the game isn't unfair. Anything that goes on outside of the actual 162 regular season games that count and however many postseason games are played is just preparation. The Yankees, by spending all this money, are simply better prepared by ensuring that they have players who they believe to be better ready for success. When it comes time to actually play, the Yankees don't have any inherent advantages. They aren't given a four-run lead to start every game. They don't have to get only 2 strikes for a strikeout while on defense. They don't get to skip second base when running. Everything within the game is fair and everyone has an equal opportunity to play. That's the beauty of sport. The game is played on the field. Money may be earned from perceived value on the field, but ultimately it doesn't directly affect the game. Need further proof? Since 1998, there have been 8 different World Series winning teams and 16 different teams that have made it to a World Series. Let's compare that to the NFL; 8 different winners and 16 different competitors. Huh...the same? But I thought a salary cap created parity? Shall we examine the NBA, another salary cap league? 6 different winners, and 12 different competitors. Worse numbers in terms of "fairness." As Bill Veeck put it, "It isn't the high price of stars that is expensive; it's the high price of mediocrity." Ultimately, you can pay for whatever you want, but if you don't pay for the right things, it doesn't matter how much money you spent. The Yankees had the highest payroll ever at $225 million last season, yet they finished third and missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Why? They were paying guys like Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, and Carl Pavano the kind of money reserved for players like Rodriguez, Teixeira, and Sabathia. In fact, the Yankees, barring another huge signing (not likely, as only Manny Ramirez is available to command $10+ million a year, and the Yankees don't appear interested in him), the Yankees will actually dip below $200 million in pay roll next year. Why? They've stopped paying mediocrity. Let's look some different spending habits and how they panned out. The Boston Red Sox spent their money well, as at least $134 million earned them a playoff berth and they were just a few games away for contending for their 3 World Series ring in since 2004. The Pittsburgh Pirates spent like paupers and played like it, losing 95 games at just under $50 million. The Red Sox spent wisely and the Pirates didn't spend at all, and it showed. On the other hand, the Detroit Tigers had the second highest payroll in baseball at around $140 million but lost 88 games and finished behind Kansas City. Ouch. But that will happen when you spend $15.5 million for 95.1 innings of Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis. The Marlins only spent $6.7 million more than that for their entire team and they won 84 games and wound up only 5.5 games out of the wild card, as opposed to the 21 games the Tigers were out. What it comes down to is Billy Beane's "Moneyball" principles: spend money where it is truly valuable and let others spend on a name and on stats that don't matter. This is what the Yankees are trying to do.

So in summary, Mark Teixeira is really damn good and immediately upgrades the Yankees, and everyone else needs to quit bitching about how unfair it is for them to keep spending like this. What they should be doing is going out, developing some talent, spending their money wisely, and simply outplaying other teams come April.

Merry Christmas to all...

...and to all, some Pavarotti.

Regardless of your religious affiliations or beliefs, we at Sal's do wish you a Merry Christmas and hope that you remember the teachings of the Man of Hour: those of peace, love, and goodwill toward all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Gene Chizik Assblaster

Football tie equals football victories

So yesterday I shared my confounded bepuzzlement at the idea of Brady Hoke to San Diego State, or in general terms, a meagerly-jobworthy coach coming off a contract-making breakout year selling himself miles short by going to a program that deserves to hire I-AA defensive coordinators. A massive step down, if you will.

I also cited West Virginia's panicky hire of kindly old racist Bill Stewart as its head coach after approximately 40 minutes as their interim head coach. That hire has been generally considered the worst coaching move in college football since Washington fired His Beautifulness Rick Neuheisel.

But it has since been topped. To the max.

Auburn University, half of the second-most important rivalry in college football, hired Iowa State's head coach and former Auburn assistant Gene Chizik to run its football program for the foreseeable future.

Chizik's defensible resume includes only his four-year stretch as defensive coordinator of Auburn and then Texas. It wasn't a stretch by Iowa State whatsoever to assume that the DC of an undefeated SEC champion and a one-loss, USC-slaying national champion would deserve an upgrade to HC, especially in the piss-poor Big 12 North.

Well, unfortunately for the probably-talented Chizik, he fell flat on his face, and Iowa State sucked big time under his leadership (5-19 in two seasons, to be precise). Chizik, it seems, stinks after all. And in more ways than one.

College football is unique along with basketball in the recruiting aspect of the sport. Following the recruitment of the nation's top high school players has become as much a part of college football as the games themselves. And part of gauging a school's hire is not just the incoming coach's football record, but recruiting record as well.

During Tommy Tuberville's reign as Auburn HC, the Tigers only got better at recruiting. They were in the Top 10 nationally three of the past four seasons, with the no. 7 recruiting class two years ago.

Chizik, conversely, has zero Top 10 classes. He has zero Top 20 classes. He has zero Top 50 classes. In three years of recruiting, Gene Chizik has pulled two four-star recruits. That's it. One of them (running back JJ Bass) only dressed for six games this season. The other one (wide receiver Sedrick Johnson) topped out at 41 yards receiving against Kansas State. And now Auburn and Iowa State commits alike are abandoning ship.

Now I'm confused. I'm certainly not upset; I don't care about Auburn football. But Auburn fans are upset. They are livid. They might kill Auburn's athletic director and eat his balls.

If you want some truly post-apocalyptic despair, head over to Joe Cribbs Car Wash, where Jerry Hinnen has been keeping a running diary of tears and diarrhea since the hire was announced.

Alabama fans are not as upset.

Terrible News

Say it ain't so!

The AFL has decided to cancel their 2009 season and come back to play in 2010.

In an effort to create a "better business model" the league has shut down operations, but this is a potential funeral march for the 22 year old league. Unlike the NHL, the last professional sports league that missed an entire season, the AFL doesn't have the tradition (though 22 years as a decidedly secondary league is impressive) or the fan base to recover. One must assume that the league has been hemorrhaging money, but not playing could cause such a loss in interest that nobody would come back whenever the AFL does. Bad news bears for all those Grand Rapids Rampage fans out there.

Best picture ever?


I don't know why, but I want a poster of this in my bedroom.
(from CollegeHumor)

Sunday, December 14, 2008



Perhaps no foosball coach has had his name tossed around Division I over the past 18 months than Ball State's head chef Brady Hoke.

When Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr announced he would be retiring prior to the 2008 season, Hoke's name was (inexplicably, at the time) brought up as a serious candidate to replace him. Apparently, his work as Michigan's defensive line coach during out 1997 National Championship season was the lone accolade that his supporters (if, indeed, he had any) cited; hiring him would be like promoting a positions coach who had simply been studying abroad in Muncie, Indiana for six years.

So grave was the situation that Brian of MGoBlog was forced to acknowledge his candidacy for the job with one of the Profiles in Heroism that marked the winter of 2007 on that venerable site of the webs.

Fast forward ten months. Hoke's Cardinals were 12-0 and dominating the mighty MAC even after losing stud wide receiver Dante Love for the rest of his life early in the season. Suddenly, the idea of Hoke getting a job at a major program was....still pretty stupid, especially after losing the MAC Championship game to lowly Buffalo. But he was moving up nonetheless.

Two weeks ago, the rather serviceable Tommy Tuberville was ousted from his position as Large Ears Coach of the Auburn Tigers, who posted their first losing record under his direction for the first time since he was hired at Auburn in 1999.

When the Auburn job became available, I didn't consider Hoke a candidate. He's a fat guy from Indiana with a terrible career record, no bowl games, and nonexistent recruiting pull. Hoke to Auburn would have made about as much sense as West Virginia promoting Bill Stewart to HC on the laurels of one bowl game. It just didn't fit.

But a candidate he was, and for the second time within a calendar year, one of the more prestigious college football programs in America was forced to examine the plausibility of having Brady Hoke as its ultimate authority. A worrying proposition, to be sure.

But...where did this come from? Hoke might not be worthy of the Big Ten or the SEC, but this is going a little too far in the other direction. From undefeated in the resurgent MAC--which has legit bowl teams--to dead last in the Mountain West. Not only was San Diego State bad this year, they've been bad pretty much forever. They've been to two bowl games since 1990, the most recent of which was 1998, and they haven't lost fewer than four games since 1979. San Diego State stinks.

With Syracuse hiring Doug Marrone and Auburn somehow settling upon the abortion that is Gene Chizik, let's just hope studly young candidate Turner Gill doesn't take the job at Utah Tech.

The Funk

I am currently an absolutely huge fan of Beggin' by Madcon. You may recognize it from the recent Adidas commercial as well as the NBA Live 09 soundtrack. It brings the funk.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Baseball Offseason Thoughts

What else would I write about?

  • 4 of the better pitchers in baseball moved to NYC in the past week or so. The Mets chose to focus on the back end of the bullpen, signing Francisco Rodriguez away from the Angels and acquiring JJ Putz via trade 3-team trade from the Mariners. The Yankees did what they do best and threw ass-loads of money at CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett to bolster their starting rotation. K-Rod was a good pickup, even at a steep price tag. He set the single-season record for saves in a season, so obviously he had a good year. Rodriguez has electrifying stuff and can strike out anybody at any time. That being said, the better pickup is Putz, who is cheaper and actually a comparable pitcher to Rodriguez. In addition, we, the greater baseball audience, will get a chance to see if a middle reliever is actually of bigger impact than a closer (I say so, as middle relievers generally pitch more than one inning per game whereas a closer only goes one inning, if that...more innings means bigger potential impact). On the Yankee side, Sabathia was the best player other than Mark Teixeira available this offseason, so clearly this was a big pickup for the team from the Bronx. Sabathia is a true ace who can go the distance and instantly upgrades any rotation he joins. Only two concerns come with Sabathia: he has thrown more innings than anybody else by far the past few years, so it's possible that the wear and tear may catch up to him. Also, 7 years is a huge commitment for a pitcher, no matter how prolific they have been in the past. Still, if any player deserves such a contract, it would be CC. Burnett was another solid signing. The Yankees, in all likelihood, overpayed for Burnett, but they can afford to because they are the Yankees. Burnett has really, really good stuff and when he's on is one of the absolute best out there. Unfortunately, Burnett has a reputation for being kinda soft mentally and physically, often not pitching unless he feels completely healthy and he tends to let mistakes snowball and can be prone to a big inning. Still, if he pitches at least similarly to what he did last season in Toronto, he should be the best number 3 starter or one of the better number 2s in baseball.
  • So far the best signing for money of the offseason? Other than perhaps Sabathia, I'd have to vote for the Phillies signing of Raul Ibanez. Ibanez has been extremely durable, playing in at least 149 games every season except one since 2003. He's hit at least 18 homeruns in every season that he's played at least 130 games in his career and has a lifetime OPS of .818. In addition, he plays a decent leftfield and, at $10 million a year, is getting payed like a poor-man's Pat Burrell, the man he replaces in Philly. This is incredibly convenient as Ibanez is a slightly-more-impoverished man's Burrell.
  • One of the savviest moves of this offseason was the Rays acquisition of Matt Joyce. Trading away starter Edwin Jackson to the Tigers for the 24 year-old outfielder Joyce, the Rays dealt from strength to acquire a young bat with great power (Joyce had pounded out 12 homers in 242 ABs, which amounts to about half a season). Could blossom into a really good regular player, but at worst he can be part of a good platoon. In addition, by moving the mediocre Jackson (to a team that could use any sort of pitching, mediocre or otherwise) there is now an extra spot in the rotation for David Price, Jake McGee, or Wade Davis, three of the best pitching prospects in baseball.
  • Kyle Farnsworth? For $9.25 million over 2 years? Really? Actually this isn't the most terrible move in history. The Royals, perennial doormats and keeping the self-esteem of Orioles fans up for years, signed a good-not-great reliever who can strike out plenty of batters. In addition, Farnsworth, kinda known as a head-case around the league, could thrive in the low-light of Kansas City, not nearly as pressure-filled as Chicago or New York or even Detroit. Perhaps KC overpayed, but at this stage, perceived legitimacy and the intention to improve are just as important to the Royals as acquiring great players. Farnsworth probably deserves $3-3.5 million a year so the difference isn't too great. Now with Farnsworth and Robinson Tejada setting up the absolutely dominant Joakim Soria (seriously, look him up if you haven't already), the Royals have the makings of a very solid bullpen. Now all they need is a good rotation, starting lineup, and bench.
  • This just in! The Indians have signed Kerry Wood to a 2 year, $20.5 million contract with an $11 million option for 2011 that kicks in automatically if Wood finishes 55 games in either 2009 or 2010. From the time he entered the bigs (I'm sure many of us remember the 20-strike out, 1-hitter in 1998), Wood seemed destined for greatness along with Mark Prior. But then Dusty Baker happened and he overworked the two young arms. Wood has been battling arm issues the past 10 years (12 DL trips in that span) but seems to have found his niche in the bullpen where he can keep his pitch count down and use his plus stuff to strike out hitters left and right. For Cleveland, this could either be a great investment or a terrible one. If Wood stays healthy and pitches to 80% of what he's capable, he'll be a top-flight closer, combining with Rafael Betancourt (who was grossly over-used last season) to shut down the final three innings of any game. If Wood can't stay healthy, then it could be $20.5 million wasted.
  • The White Sox are going back to the Cuban well again. Having acquire Jose Contreras a few years back from the Yankees and then signing Alexei Ramirez straight from Cuba last year, the ChiSox have perhaps the best connection to Cuba of any big league team right now and they used that connection to sign 19-year old infielder Dayan Viciedo. I would be lying if I said I knew anything about Viciedo but he hit .296 with 32 homeruns and some slick defense in 233 games in Cuba. While the Cuban leagues are very good competition, they aren't the majors and Viciedo might have some trouble adjusting (though Ramirez had none whatsoever and would have been the runaway AL Rookie of the Year were it not for the absurd season by Evan Longoria). Still, at only 19 years old, Viciedo will have plenty of room to grow...or will be crushed by the new-found pressure and high level of competition (I do hope it's the former).
  • While the Viciedo signing could be a very good one for the White Sox, two of their other moves this offseason have been a mixed bag. The trade of Javier Vasquez wasn't particularly surprising, as Vasquez is a consistent underachiever considering his stuff who has found a comfort zone as a solid innings eater capable of having really great or really horrendous starts. He should be a good 3rd or 4th starter for the Braves if their rotation can return to health. It remains to be seen if the return for this trade will be good. The Braves surrendered pitcher Santos Rodriguez, infielders Jonathan Gilmore and Brent Lillibridge, and catcher Tyler Flowers. Rodriguez has some potential with a big 6'5" frame but at this point is a little hard to project. Gilmore and Lillibridge are nothing special. Flowers is the key here. He has a ton of power potential, especially for a catcher, and has some solid defensive tools. Flowers is very big for a catcher and a very good athlete. If he can become a star, the White Sox would have a steal. The other big trade was moving Nick Swisher to the Yankees for Wilson Betemit and minor league pitchers Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez. Swisher had a bad year last year, to say the least. While his homeruns and strikeouts (often his bane) stayed steady, his walks and doubles dropped significantly and his OPS was nearly 100 points below its 2007 level. If this is a trend, then Swisher will have a hard time being employed by just about anybody considering themselves a contender. However, if this was an anomaly Swisher could bounce back and be a huge upgrade for the Yankees who could have a guy with 25 homerun power, patience at the plate, and the ability to play all outfield spots as well as first base pretty well. While nobody can be sure as to why Swisher dropped off, I contest that Swisher's super-laid back manner didn't mesh well with manager Ozzie Guillen, a notorious hot-head and super big bag of douche who is quick to pull a player who isn't performing. The more even-keeled style of Joe Girardi should be beneficial to Swisher. In return, the ChiSox got Betemit, a solid backup infielder who can give anybody a rest but is stretched as a full-time player, Nunez, a decent minor-leaguer who looks to be a career Quad-A player, and Marquez, a former supplemental first rounder who hasn't totally lived up to his potential but could still as yet become a solid big leaguer.
  • The trade I was most interested in, naturally, involves my Baltimore Orioles. The Birds traded away catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Cincinnati Reds for utility player Ryan Freel. Hernandez is a solid starting catcher who's starting to show his age. He has a solid bat with some pop for a catcher and should be helped going to Cincy, a good hitters' park. However, his OPS has fallen below .715 the past two seasons. In addition, his defense, especially his throwing arm, has declined. Still, he should be at least an average starting catcher for the Reds for two years or so. Freel is a utility player who can man all outfield spots as well as third and second base and play some short in a pinch. Freel has absolutely no power to speak of, but the man can fly. He's stolen at least 36 bases in every season that he's played at least 100 games in and he has pretty good range in the outfield. He can also work a count though he doesn't get many walks, rather looking to slap a ball in play and force the defense to make a play. Assuming that his recent injury issues haven't robbed him of his speed, Freel should, at worst, solidify the Orioles bench. But the key to this trade has nothing to do with the players directly involved. Rather, trading away Hernandez and his hefty salary that would force him to be played opens up the catching spot for uber-prospect Matt Wieters. Wieters is a freak and widely considered to be the best prospect in all of baseball. He has been compared favorably to a more athletic Jason Varitek and a more powerful Joe Mauer. In 130 games combined between A-Fredrick and AA-Bowie last season, Wieters hit for .355/.454/.600 with 27 homers and 91 RBI. He also committed only 9 errors and threw out just over 40% of baserunners.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Carol of the Bells

We here at Sal Fasano's are big fans of the Christmas season, especially the music that goes with it.

We're all familiar with the famous Carol of the Bells, written in 1916 by Ukrainian composer and priest Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych. In recent years, its most famous incarnation has been the heavy rock version by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. That version is often choreographed to videos of elaborate Christmas light setups and to be honest, I consider myself a non-fan.

So I was perusing the YouTubes today looking for a unique arrangement of this Christmas classic, and I stumbled upon this celestial gem by George Winston. It is the polar (ha) opposite of the TSO version and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Salute to Greatness

Earlier, I profiled the retirement of Mike Mussina, stating how he was a great pitcher who was always just a bit overshadowed by others in his career.

Well it's happened again, as, on Monday, the great Greg Maddux finally decided that he, too, would retire.

Maddux is arguably the best pitcher of his generation and one of the best of all time. If the Moose is Hall of Famer, Maddux probably deserves his own wing. His 355 wins is 8th all-time, his 4 Cy Young Awards tie him with Hall of Famer Steve Carlton for 3rd most all-time, his 18 Gold Gloves (seriously?!?) are the most all time, his 3371 Ks are 10th all time, he has a 1.143 career WHIP, a stellar number, and his 3.37 K/BB ratio is good enough for 16th all time. Simply put, Greg Maddux is a legendary pitcher.
Maddux never had the most over-powering stuff (though it was certainly good) and he didn't throw a particularly impressive array of pitches. No, Maddux made a living making Leo Mazzone look like a genius for "locate your fastball and change speeds." Maddux was without a doubt the smartest pitcher out there and was always a true student of the game. Nobody was more prepared and it showed. In addition, anybody and everybody who played with or against the Mad Dog would agree that he was the classiest of competitors and a consumate professional and a gentleman.
It will be bizarre knowing that Maddux won't be challenging for 15 wins again next season for some NL team that likely will be making the playoffs. Baseball will miss this great ambassador of the game. There will never be another Greg Maddux.

Cheese Poll Results

The longest-running poll in our history has come to an end, and the people have spoken. The best cheese is dick cheese, according to 37% of you.

Sharp cheddar came in second with four votes and my personal favorite, mozzarella, finished a respectable third.

Swiss cheese was the big loser, gaining only one vote in a poll that was left open for 60 days. Atrociously poor effort there, Swiss.

Monday, December 8, 2008

David Garrard is a sweaty, sweaty man

pretty much sums it up.

The Death of the SAll-Star

This man is the last SAll-Star I, Big Boutros, will ever present to you. He has literally broken my ability to gauge talent.

I present to you now a man who is indescribable in English nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and expletives. There are, however, fourteen different gerunds for his mighty hair in Quenya.

I present to you a man--no, a legend--whose name can only be whispered softly by the wandering elves of the forest.

Observe closely. Did you detect a smile, a grin, a wry smirk from the lips of our balladeer? No. This man, this mythical beast, takes this song and this video completely seriously. This is his life's passion, and oh, what a wondrous conclusion it has reached.

He has also been nominated for a Daytime Emmy. Of course he has.

When the Earth explodes in a fiery pit of lava, I will lock this precious gem away in my lava-proof time capsule labeled "The Best Things Ever."

Incidentally, this is the first video I have ever watched that has not needed more Stallone. Amazingly, more Stallone might actually ruin it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Daily Neil Diamond

Seriously...there is no such thing as too much Neil Diamond.

If you disagree, I will hunt you down and kill you with my bare hands.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Finally, some sanity.

Here's an article from JA Adande, one of my favorite basketball writers, criticizing the absurd speak concerning LeBron James moving to NY after his current contract is up. (Stephen A. Smith, I blame you...excuse me...STEPHEN A. SMITH, I BLAME YOU!!!).

Here's the piece.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Clearly This Will Fix Everything

The Wizards fired Eddie Jordan today, eliminating any veneer of competitive drive within the organization and effectively announcing to the world that they are in Full-Blown Tank Mode.

Jordan was the third-longest tenured coach in the NBA, which has only moderate face value considering the Miami Heat fired Stan Van Gundy so they could hire Erik Spoelstra (woo!), but still, when only Jerry Sloan (most wins in NBA history) and Gregg PedoVich (four-time NBA champion and all-time leader in NAMBLA Intramural League three-pointers) have held their jobs longer than you, regardless of the idiocy of coaching changes in the league, you've probably done a pretty good job.

Not only did Eddie Jordan lead the Wizards to four consecutive playoff appearances with The Insufferable Gilbert Arenas as his starting point guard, Eddie was a proud local boy. His replacement is Ed Homeless Tapscott, a totally awesome dude whom Comcast SportsNet and Knicks fans know very well, and who is infathomably unqualified to coach a professional basketball team. I can only hope and pray that Caron Butler can't find any high-quality straws in another city.

It's a sad day for true Wizards fans, who can wistfully recall the days of Doug Collins and Bernie Bickerstaff and Wes Delicious Sandwich Unseld, that we have to lose our first competent coach I defy anyone to name a suitable replacement who is not already under contract. And if they go after Billy Donovan in the offseason I will probably vomit. I catch Bullets Fever every year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Return of Michael Vick?

What Mike Vick did what with the dog-fighting was not cool. In addition, his issues with drug possession (really, Mike? you were the highest paid player in the NFL, you couldn't buy some pot when you got home?) and his complete inability to learn the West Coast offense are negatives. And who can forget Ron Mexico?

Now all that being said, Vick is a freak of an athlete.

And, in part because of Bill Simmons' most recent article and in part because I think about these things instead of doing stuff like school, I was thinking about Vick and his career after prison.

Allegedly Vick has been staying in shape (not really a surprise, what else is there to do in prison?). Now he's definitely not in football shape, but a great athlete like Vick can get there relatively soon methinks. Now Vick clearly doesn't have a future with the Falcons, and he wasn't exactly a great passer before his incarceration, and prison football isn't exactly the best place for honing your skills. But Vick does have a future. Why?

The Miami Dolphins.

This season, the Miami Dolphins have completely rejuvenated their franchise. The arrival of Bill Parcells and his main man Tony Sparano has changed the entire attitude of the franchise. In addition, returns to health from Joey Porter, Chad Pennington, and Ronnie Brown have been key and top draft pick Jake Long has been nothing short of stellar. But perhaps the most interesting part of their season-long improvement has been the introduction of the Wildcat offense. The Wildcat is the closest thing the NFL has to the option attack (which could never work in the NFL because all defenders are far too athletic). With a runningback taking snaps, any rushing play becomes an 11 on 11 play (as opposed to the standard 10 on 11 rushing plays where a QB is usually eliminated). In addition, it can creat a number of trick plays with double passes 'n such.

Michael Vick is the perfect QB to run the Wildcat. He's the fast man to ever play QB. He has a cannon, though it's not always accurate. It's like this offense was created solely for the purpose of a hybrid runner/thrower like Vick. Imagine the possibilities. All a team needs to do is invest in quick and athletic linemen, a decent pounding back for icing games, a speed back, and sign Vick to some real cheap contract and draft a late-round running QB (like Pat White or Juice Williams) and have them split snaps and you've got the most innovative offense since Sammy Baugh started making it cool to throw the ball.

And really, what does a team like the 49ers or Rams or Lions have to lose?

Friday, November 21, 2008



Huh...I guess so...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snow Is Nice

But George Is Nicer

Two Baseball-related items

First: I encourage all to read Michael Weinreb's brief piece for Page 2 on Bill Veeck, truly one of the most influential and important persons not only to baseball but modern sport as a whole. I also encourage anyone interested to follow up on Veeck and learn what you can.

Veeck deserves credit for the single best summation as to why some teams play better than others despite any economic advantages or disadvantages (kinda my thing, in case that was in question): "It isn't the high price of stars that is expensive; it's the high price of mediocrity."

Second (and more directly related to baseball): This could be the number one reason the Phillies might not repeat next season- Chase Utley may be out until June, following hip surgery.

It's very easy to point to Jimmy Rollins, the loudmouthed shortstop and former MVP, or Ryan Howard, the slugging first baseman and former MVP, or Cole Hamels, the ace who led the team to the promised land as the World Series MVP, as keys to the Phillies success. But if you really examine the team, there is only one player who can qualify as their best: Utley. Utley has posted a career .901 OPS, a great number at any position, but out of this world at 2b, where he also provides great defense. In addition, he instantly makes that whole lineup better. Rollins, while a very good player, is not a scary bat. Howard, though possibly the strongest man in the majors, can be pitched around (try a curveball). Utley is a complete threat. If the Mets retool (like they should and would were they run with any amount of competance), it will be tough to keep pace without Utley.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So long, Moose.

Earlier today, Mike Mussina decided to call it a career.

Mussina pitched for the Orioles and the Yankees during his stellar 18-year career. He finished his career with 270 wins, a 3.68 ERA, 2813 strikeouts, and a 1.192 WHIP. He was a 5-time All Star and won 7 Gold Gloves, including for this past season, tying him with Mark Langston (really?) for 5th most all-time. The past year, he became the fifth pitcher to have his first 20 win season in the final year of his career, and was also the first to win his 20th game in the final start of his career. Mussina hold the record for winning the most games in a career without having a 20-win season. He also took two perfect games into the ninth inning (I was at one of them).

Mussina is, in my mind, a Hall of Famer. He never was a Cy Young winner. He never threw that no-hitter or perfect game. Only in his last season did he win 20 games. He never won a World Series. But Moose was always consistent and always classy. He amassed career numbers that qualify him for the Hall. His 270 wins are good enough for 33rd all-time and he's 19th all-time in strikeouts. His K/BB ratio of 3.58 is a great 13th all-time, and his career winning percentage, a stellar .638 (prorated over 162 games: 103.356 wins a season) is tied with Jim Palmer, another Orioles great. Keep in mind too that Mussina pitched for some truly terrible Orioles teams and when he moved to the Yankees, he was often the recipient of poor run-support. In addition, Moose was always a classy guy about whom nothing bad could be said. He was never too flashy and it was always about the team with him.
One game in particular can sum up Mussina's career: Game 3 of the 1997 ALCS. Moose pitched brilliantly, striking out 15 in just 7 innings. However, he was nearly matched by Orel Hershiser and the game was blown in the 12th inning by the bullpen and Lenny Webster (I didn't want to talk about then, and I don't want to now). Mussina was always excellent, but overshadowed by others.

Mussina was always a hero of mine. Easily one of my favorite pitchers and one of the true stars of the mid-90s Orioles teams I cherished so much, Moose was the warrior at the front of the rotation that any team would want. Some say he sold his soul when he went to the Yankees and while I'm never a fan of anyone good playing for the team from the Bronx, people forget that Moose had every intention of staying in Baltimore and was even willing to give the Birds a discount for his wonderful services. But the Orioles management tried to take advantage of Mussina and low-balled him to the point of insult. (This would not be the first time, and certainly not the last that Peter Angelos has made me want to kill something.) But I remember playing baseball in the basement with my brother and dad and always wanting to be either Cal Ripken Jr, Brady Anderson (look into those sideburns and tell me you're not smitten), or Mussina. Other than perhaps Ken Griffey Jr, never have I so wanted a player from any team other than the O's to win a World Series as I did for Mussina.
So farewell, Moose, you will be missed and will always have a place in the hearts of true Orioles fans (the only kind left) and grateful Yankee fans (there should be so many more than there are) everywhere.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


And here's Jayson Stark showing me up in every way.

Seriously though, it's a really good piece.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Silvio Berlusconi for President of Earth

Silvio always goes big

Silvio Berlusconi, for the less politically-inclined out there (I love you), is the current Prime Minister of Italy, an enviable political office if ever one existed.

I could have looked up his political record, and what his reputation is both locally and internationally, but I don't care. He's been elected like 14 times so he's obviously popular. But more importantly, he's awesome.

Silvio's most recent "gaffe," though I prefer to call it "a good joke," was referring to Barack Obama as tan. In context: "I will try to help relations between Russia and the United States where a new generation has come to power. I don't see problems for Medvedev to establish good relations with Obama because he is young, handsome and even tanned. Therefore, I think that a good cooperation can be developed."

Anyone with a stick not up their butt can see that Silvio was just making fun of Obama's youth appeal that no other US president has ever had. I imagine Teddy Roosevelt rocked a leathery brown tan during his tenure in the Oval Office thanks to all the time he spent Roughriding in Puerto Rico but nobody would say so simply because he frightened children.

But let's ignore this recent non-issue and discuss the two facets of Silvio's personality that make him the Barry White of prime ministers.

1. Anyone who gets in his way is either a Nazi, a Communist, or a cannibal.
2. If international tensions were ever to arise, he would simply have sex with them until they became docile husks of clemency.

Take that, meter maid.

More baseball thoughts? Why not!?

As always these are just my thoughts and opinions, so they're probably better than yours.

  • I don't know what happened to the Nationals, but all of a sudden they're on the good end of a trade. The Marlins traded outfielder Josh Willingham and left-hander Scott Olsen to the Nationals for Emilio Bonifacio, Jake Smolinski, and PJ Dean (who? exactly). Willingham is a decent player, immediately making him one of the 3 or 4 best on the Nats. He has decent power and good plate discipline. Unfortunately, he's a complete liability in the field. However, given the Nationals supreme offensive woes, he'll get an opportunity to play every day. Olsen is puzzling. A couple years ago he was a high-grade prospect with a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider. Now he's more a low-90s fastball with a much less impressive slide-piece. If Olsen can get back to his form of a few years ago, he'll be a huge asset to the team. Otherwise, he's probably a decent pitcher that the Nats can use regardless. On the Marlins' side, Bonifacio is a decent utility player, Smolinski can make some contact but can't field and isn't powerful enough to be anything more than a Quad-A player, and Dean is likely to be a career minor-leaguer or a mop-up guy for a bad team because of his below-average stuff. This was clearly a salary dump.
  • The Matt Holliday trade is bizarre. Holliday is one of the better offensive players in baseball but he will take a hit in numbers moving out of Colorado. Still, he can hit for average, hit for power, run the bases, and he has good plate discipline. Fielding is an adventure, but he's a good enough athlete that he could improve with some good coaching and the A's have enough fielders elsewhere to likely cover for him. Holliday marks a big improvement of the A's recent slew of sub-par corner outfielders. Of course, Holliday could be dealt for even more prospects anytime between now and July 31st. The Rockies return was pretty good. Huston Street shouldn't be a closer and could really struggle in Colorado's thin air. Street has had injury issues recently and it has flattened out his fastball and made him kinda hittable, especially in high-pressure situations. He's a good candidate to be dealt for some more prospects. Still, if he sticks around and can stay healthy, Street should be a decent reliever. Greg Smith is a pitcher recovering from minor elbow surgery who has the stuff to be a back-of-the-rotation starter or a decent reliever. If he recovers from surgery, he'll be a great third piece. The real prize of the trade must be Carlos Gonzalez...IF he can get his act together. Gonzalez is a 5-tool prospect who was acquired by Oakland in the Dan Haren deal. However, he's motivation has been questioned and he has never really put all his immense skills together. This makes him the exact kind of player that A's GM Billy Beane has avoided; prefering to bank on production over potential. However, if Gonzalez can focus, he's moving into a good situation in Colorado where he can crush mistakes.
  • Tim Lincecum is flithy.

Friday, November 7, 2008


good stuff

Godspeed You Enormous Scientist

Handsome, smart, but mostly humongous

Author, pituitary freak, bioengineering genius, and general kicker of ass Michael Crichton died two days ago after an extremely private (nobody knew he had it!) battle with cancer. What kind of cancer? The kind that would have made a superb Michael Crichton villain, obviously, had it not killed him.

Crichton, who was inexplicably almost seven feet tall, was one of the most critically acclaimed and prolific fiction authors of the 20th century. His 1990 magnum opus, Jurassic Park, is one of the best-selling novels of all time and its subsequent film adaptation was the highest-grossing film in the history of the universe until every woman dragged her husband/boyfriend to Titanic a few years later.

All told, he wrote 26 (!) novels, 16 of which I have read, including The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, Congo, Eaters of the Dead, and The Lost World. He wrote four works of non-fiction.

In addition to his literature, Crichton also invented the television series ER, which was pretty much the only show on NBC that anyone watched over the past five years.

May you forever defeat synthetic dinosaurs in heaven, sir. Farewell.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Baseball Season in Review

The 2008 Major League Baseball Season has reached its conclusion. The Philadelphia Phillies (?!?!?!) proved to be the team to beat as they won their first World Series in 28 years. But now the real season begins. The off-season is where championships are won and lost. Some investments go poorly (the Blue Jays and David Eckstein...I love being right) and some are season-makers (the White Sox and Carlos Quentin). So here are a few thoughts about the past season and a few looking forward.


  • Teams that should be happy with their seasons for one reason or another:
Philadelphia Phillies
Tampa Bay Rays
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles Angels of Porkenheim
Chicago Cubs ( make the playoffs, it's a good season)
Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Dodgers
Baltimore Orioles (what?!?!?!? I'll get to this later)
Minnesota Twins
Florida Marlins
Houston Astros
St. Louis Cardinals

  • Teams that should be unhappy for many, many reasons (namely expectations):
New York Yankees
New York Mets (seeing two unhappy NY teams makes me if only Boston had failed too...)
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Seattle Mariners
Washington Nationals (low expectations? yes...but I'll get to this later)
Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres

  • Once again we had a team win that wasn't particularly dominant during the regular season (though they certainly were good) but got hot and rode some good pitching and timely offense to a champeenship. Philly proved that it's still kinda a crapshoot in the playoffs and it's just as important to be lucky as good (though I contest that, as put so eloquently by Branch Rickey, "luck is the residue of design").
  • What do you do if you're the Yankees or Mets? You spent more than anybody but you couldn't even make the playoffs? We'll I'll tell you what you do. If you're the Yankees, you go back to the drawing board with your young pitchers...examine who really isn't that good and who just needs some polish (my thoughts: Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes are good...the others? I might invest in CC Sabathia). I'd starting chewing out Robinson Cano and tell him to get his ass in gear. I'd hope you're ancient outfield holds up for a season or two more while Austin Jackson and Jorge Tabata develop. And basically I'd get back to being the Yankees...developing young talent and buying up so really good mid-level free agents. As for the Mets, I'd not pick up any option on Carlos Delgado as he only had one good (albeit really good) half season and is on the decline (oops). Otherwise, I'd invest in pitching, pitching and more pitching.
  • The Baltimore Orioles should be really pleased by this season. First, the Rays proved that if you do your homework while you're losing, the payoff can be great for pretty cheap. That being said, the O's haven't been doing said homework until recently...but they can perhaps have a nice turn-around soonish because of deeper pockets. The Orioles two major offseason trades worked out really well. The pieces of the Tejada trade proved to be useful fillers with decent futures and Luke Scott, kinda an afterthought, actually was one of the Birds' best players. The Bedard trade was a coup. George Sherrill proved to be a pretty good big-league pitcher though he's a bit stretched as a closer. Adam Jones continued his development, showing flashes of greatness but still exhibiting the inconsistency of many younger players. Nick Markakis continued to become one of the better young outfielders in baseball. Some suggestions moving forward: Pursue Mark Teixeira, but don't get into a bidding war that you can't afford. While Teixeira is really, really good, it's not worth blowing your entire budget on one player. Drop Kevin Millar as soon as possible. Get Matt Wieters into the line up.
  • Just a little closer to my home, the Washington Nationals have no future. To say they suck would be a huge understatement. Here's a list of players on their roster I'd consider league-average or better for their respective positions: Ryan Zimmerman. That's it. Seriously, their team OBP was .323, a full 20 points lower than their opponents. This team needs to quit paying guys like Dmitiri Young, Nick Johnson, Ronnie Belliard, Austin Kearns, and Wily Mo Pena (hurts to say, but it's the truth) and invest in some decent prospects. You gotta spend money to make money, so stop paying hurt and over-the-hill guys on the big-league team and start drafting better and investing in your scouting and development department. That's all.
  • Albert Pujols played out of his mind this year. For one reason or another, I never really liked Pujols. I never disliked him, and I always have respected his great playing ability. Until this season I always kinda viewed him as a really good player but not a season changer; that is, a guy who not only could change his own team's fortunes, but actively inhibited other teams' chances. But then this season happened. Pujols single-handedly kept a crappy Cardinals team (yo, Ryan Ludwick isn't that good) alive for a hefty part of the season. I had thought that Pujols would be a Hall of Famer, barring injury before 2008. Now I think we'll be talking about him as the quietest All-Time Great ever.
A few thoughts about the impending offseason.

  • CC Sabathia is going to, deservedly, cash in this winter. America's most athletic fatty was absolutely awesome down the stretch for the Brewers (which is the perfect team for him...too bad they probably can't afford him). He's a hard throwing lefty who can go all day and often did. The logical places to go are the Yankees or the two LA teams. The Angels don't really need him, but the Dodgers have some money and could use a stud at the top of the rotation, especially if Derek Lowe leaves. Naturally the Yankees can and will outspend everybody, but it genuinely seems like Sabathia will give a California team a hometown discount. But buyer beware! While Sabathia has been very durable and his hefty frame can take a lot of punishment, the man has thrown more innings and pitches than anybody thought could be possible. When Sabathia pitched in the playoffs, he looked to finally be out of steam. Any team should that signs him should be wary of his workload and could expect him to struggle a bit with fatigue early in the season.
  • Jake Peavy? Probably not worth the trouble. No doubt, Peavy is a very good pitcher. But only for 6 to 7 innings. Much like Pedro Martinez used to be, Peavy starts to fade around 100 pitches. Only difference? Peavy is no Pedro. Whereas Martinez would routinely make hitters look absolutely foolish with overpowering stuff, Peavy gets a lot of outs by working the hitter; not a bad approach, but something that makes you easy to get to every now and then. Peavy will make some team very happy but it's unlikely that he's worth 4 prospects as that's what Johan Santana was worth and he, historically, is significantly better and more impreseeive than Peavy.
Free agent position rankings:

  1. CC Sabathia
  2. Derek Lowe
  3. Ryan Dempster
  4. Ben Sheets (provided he can stay healthy-ish, a big if)
  5. Oliver Perez
9125623. Sidney Ponson

  1. Francisco Rodriguez
  2. Kerry Wood
  3. Brian Fuentes
  4. Juan Cruz
  5. LaTroy Hawkins
  1. Jason Varitek
  2. Ivan Rodriguez
  3. David Ross
  4. Javier Valentin
  5. Brad Ausmus
  1. Mark Teixeira
  2. Tony Clark
  3. Sean Casey
  4. Kevin Millar
  5. Rich Aurilia
  1. Orlando Hudson
  2. Felipe Lopez
  3. Juan Uribe
  4. Mark Grudzielanek
  5. Ray Durham
  1. Hank Blalock
  2. Casey Blake
  3. Joe Crede
  4. Russell Branyan
  5. Mike Lamb
  1. Orlando Cabrera
  2. Edgar Renteria
  3. Nomar Garciaparra
  4. Nick Punto
  5. Jerry Hairston, Jr.
  1. Manny Ramirez
  2. Adam Dunn
  3. Milton Bradley (if he's healthy)
  4. Raul Ibanez
  5. (tie) Bobby Abreu/Jim Edmonds

Saturday, November 1, 2008







Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What a Travesty

So....the World Series is over. How thrilling. Does anyone else love chicken?

Let Ella and Satch remind you of baseball's true season.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008






Monday, October 27, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

RIP Dolemite

Many thanks to Ben for his In Memoriam post for Dolemite...generally when we recognize a person's death on this site we only do so in a single article. But Dolemite was not a person. Dolemite was The Person. The Baddest Man with a Plan. His Almighty Pimpness. The Mack, The Daddy, and The Holy Shit. And we will miss him more than white people will ever know.

As before, language is rather unsafe for your mom.

Rudy such thing as "not in character."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Daily Mack Daddy

It's a sad day for blaxploitation fans everywhere.

Rudy Ray Moore passed away on Sunday at the age of 81. Moore was a comedian and actor known for his crude and in-your-face act that made Richard Pryor look tame. But Moore was best know for his character Dolemite, a pimp who just didn't take crap from anyone. It spawned two movies and created a cult following that would ensure Moore's legacy.

*NSFW language and breastises*

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Acceptable

This is what happens in the unfortunate circumstance wherein a referee is unable to get out of the way of the ongoing play.

Nothing objectionable there.

This is what happens when a referee is victimized by an athlete for missing a call.

This is what happens when a referee is a terrific son of a bitch.

But this...
What is this?


That's indefensible! He's standing at a safe distance from the play, strafes into position like any good linebacker would, lowers his shoulder, and lights the quarterback up. What was going through his mind?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vamos a la playa

This is what I did in Spanish class on Friday.

Just a Little More Matt Stairs

Might As Well Legislate

So Barack O'Boutros is going to run a preposterously long advertisement/documentary/biopic/ice cream sandwich before Game 6 of the World Series. I say whatever. If you are like me and Ben and many other Americans, and you're simply not satisfied with the two major-party candidates, don't forget: in America, you can vote for literally whomever you want. It might be illegal, and your ballot will likely wipe someone's butt, but you can write anyone's name on that sumbitch. Which is precisely why we need our ridiculous and stupid voices to be heard: Vote David Lee Roth for President!

THAT'S RIGHT, DAMMIT, we're voting for Diamond Dave. And you should too.

Let's face facts: John McCain is preposterously old. He's probably going to die in a week or two. So if you vote for him, you're not really voting for John McCain. You're voting for President Sarah Palin. You do not want this, because you do not want a president who lack the cognitive ability to operate a can opener. And Barack, he's got fancy words. He's young, he's change-y. But when Habib Falafel sends a million pounds of gasoline flying into the Sears Tower, who do you want calling the retaliatory shots? Probably not a man with two years in the Senate under his belt. Although his Muslim telepathy could prove useful in foiling many a Taliban plot.

So there's only one choice. After all, how many men have caught malaria and had clauses written into their performance contracts banning brown M&M's from the dressing room? Only Diamond Dave.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Shame on you, MLB

For your alleged collusion against Barry Bonds.

It is a shame that during such an exciting and wondrous time as the MLB postseason (the 2nd best around after NHL) that a potential black mark like this will come up. If this is in fact the case and MLB owners and management acted in concert to exclude Mr. Bonds, the all-time homerun king and arguably the best player to ever step on a field (look at the stats), from playing this past season, then I am at a loss for words over how ridiculous the owners are.

Granted, Barry Bonds is a circus. Steroid allegations and the (unfair) coverage would be a "distraction" (read: bring publicity and ticket sales...always a bad thing...right?). But the fact of the matter is that Barry Bonds is a great hitter. Steroids or not, the man had a career OPS of 1.051! He had the most patient and selective batting eye in baseball history. And the man could mash, even as a skinny kid from AZ State. You mean to tell me the Yankees couldn't have used him as a DH? How about the Twins? How about, I dunno, ANY TEAM IN BASEBALL!? What is really ridiculous is how teams continue to employ admitted steroid users (the Giambino, half the 2003 Baltimore Orioles, etc.) and yet they won't pay a man who's simply better with the stick something well below market price?

People will continue to look at the Barry Bonds saga as a taint on baseball history. They're right, but they're missing the point.


Need proof that the American system is broken?

A Barak Obama infomercial will delay the potential start of Game 6 of the World Series.

I don't care what your political affiliations are. You can support Obama. You can support McCain. You can be completely indifferent. It doesn't really matter to me; everyone is entitled to their opinion (no matter how misinformed that opinion may or may not be) and that's the beauty of America. But I and every other right-thinking American must take umbrage with this rather inconsequential presidential race taking precedence over something as important as the World Series. Now it's possible that the Series won't reach a Game 6, but if it does and I have to wait an extra 15 minutes for the start of Phils-Rays/BoSox...well let's just say that somebody is gonna pay.

All I can say is let's just get through this and elect some guy who'll just continue big-party politics of the past 100 years or so and be wildly disappointing either way. Vote Coston-Johannes in '28!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Matt Stairs is the man.

Not much else to say...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Have Some Hood Rich For Lunch Today

Friday, October 10, 2008


Not cool dude

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Beard, ice, wolf pose: manly.

This article should be three words: Ovechkin is better.

A follow-up article could be even shorter: Ovechkin dominates.

Toothlessness: manlier.

Alexander Ovechkin is arguably the manliest active athlete in the world. He just turned 23, he is built like an NFL linebacker (6-3, 245) who can skate backwards like it ain't no thang, he can't speak English and he hasn't missed a single NHL game in three seasons. Crosby is a prepubescent dandy who pisses and moans at every available opportunity and has missed 33 games due to injury despite being the resilient and uninjurable age of 21. Also, and most importantly, he's not awesome.

The good news is that hockey is back in any capacity. Manliness reigns.

Hoisting up the lasses whilst toothless: Manliest.

You know who agrees with me?

Of course you do.

I Remain Convinced This Man Comes From Heaven

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Best thing ever?


Now I love me some 80s music, especially A-ha (and Midnight Oil). But the only thing better than 80s music is making fun of 80s music.

So I give you this, submitted by Young Samuel, possibly the best thing ever:

(Here's the original)

Might I also add...

Barry Melrose.

Monday, October 6, 2008







Those Are Some Big Rabbits

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Bad weekend; creativity, motivation lacking

Friday, October 3, 2008

For Michigan Fans

The Wisconsin game has put me in the mode of Testicular Pain Nervousness. You know the kind.

Put the Cash Under the Mattress

I begrudgingly consider ESPN the preeminent source of sports news in my life. Its columnists are often boring or stupid, and its original programming sucks without exception, but it's always available, and it's always at least minimally informative thanks to the Bottom Line.

But I must start the slow clap for the Worldwide Leader today for this article, unsurprisingly written by a man who doesn't actually work for ESPN.

I don't study economics and I don't desire to begin doing so; with my father working in law and my sister working for an international bank, I've always felt somewhat clueless when it came to inflation and subprime mortgages and liquidity, but not in a shameful way. It's just not my area of expertise.

But now that the whole country's infrastructure seems to be in danger, I feel obligated to stay informed and yet totally helpless. That's why I like this article so much. It doesn't exactly make me feel better--the overall message seems to be that professional sports just as susceptible to the crisis as we all are--but if I know anything, it's sports. And the fact that Gare Joyce can shape our economic woes into a more palatable topic for people like me reinforces my blind faith in the resuscitation of this sputtering country.