Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Classic Video: The [insert negative superlative] Dark Knight analysis ever?

First of all, if you haven't seen The Dark Knight, you already know that you suck because you've had nothing to talk about with other people this week. But please continue reading, no spoilers here. (Maybe.)

Second, the guys at Fire Joe Morgan, which, again, is the best Web site on the series of tubes, have already posted this video and made their comments. Those comments will be better than mine. That's because -- as Sabermetrics makes clear-- funnier people write funnier things than those who are not as funny. That's us! Anyway, go read their shit.

Third, if you asked me who the two ESPN commentators I hate most are, I would say: 1) Skip Bayless, whose children I hope fall into a well; and 2) Stephen A. Smith, who apparently some people must like, seeing as he's still around. Who are you people? Seriously, I'm curious. Here, let's have some solidarity: I like the movie National Treasure. Everyone else seems to hate it because it's a terrible movie. (Even though, yes, it did recently have a sequel which made a shitload of money, so okay fine, maybe everybody doesn't hate it. But anyone of reasonable intelligence does, right?) So is that like you Stephen A. Smith likers? I don't think this whole line of argument makes much sense, does it? So let's move on.

Fourth, speaking of ESPN people I can't stand, I don't like that John Kruk and Steve Philips are the "experts" on Baseball Tonight. John Kruk and Steve Philips -- though they may be perfectly nice in real life -- are horrible at talking about baseball. The FJM guys have a litany of examples, but John Kruk once said this:
"I think it's easier to score runs when you have a pitcher on your side who's pitching for you. That is a great pitcher, because you know you don't have to score that many. And what it does is, you know if you go up with a runner on third with less than two outs and you don't bring the run in, you think to yourself, 'All right, well, so what? They're not going to score either. We'll have more opportunities.'"
Yes, that's right. It's easier for your team to score runs when your team's starting pitcher is good. The reason, apparently, is because you don't care. Nothing to do with how good your hitters are, how bad the other team's starting pitcher is, or -- to Kruk's credit -- leprechauns.

Then there's Steve Philips who, as any Mets fan knows, was a terrible, awful, atrocious General Manager. I think this SAT analogy is appropriate: Steve Philips : General Manager :: George W. Bush : President. Too obvious? How about Steve Philips : General Manager :: Someone : Something that person is really, really, really, extraordinarily bad at doing.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. So you saw The Dark Knight. Now imagine for one second what it would be like if Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless (who like to give wedgies to orphans when no one's looking) gave their opinions on The Dark Knight.

If you're like me, you would assume that: 1) Skip Bayless will say it's a bad movie, because Skip Bayless hates fun and sunshine and children and anything that you like; and 2) Stephen A. Smith wishes it had more black people.

Believe it or not, ESPN put this little fantasy in motion. And, since it's ESPN, some dumbass producer had to make it seem like a regular part of the show, so it's a discussion of whether The Dark Knight is overrated or underrated.

(Seriously, how in the world could this movie -- whatever you thought of it -- be underrated? It received rapturous reviews and broke every box office record. It seems to be very well liked. But anyway, just watch.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mets Petition Major League Baseball To Terminate Regular Season and Commence Playoffs Immediately

NEW YORK --- In a surprising legal maneuver, the New York Mets, citing a little-known provision of Major League Baseball's anti-trust exemption, have formally requested that Major League Baseball terminate the regular season effective immediately, and begin the playoffs.

On Thursday afternoon, the Mets defeated the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 3-1, moving into sole possession of first place in the National League East for the first time since September 26, 2007. Perhaps desperate to avoid a repeat of last year's infamous late-season collapse, the Mets have asked Commissioner Bud Selig to declare the 2008 season over, and begin the playoffs as soon as possible. The Mets would host the Milwaukee Brewers in the Divisional Championship round, which, though not scheduled to begin until early October, the Mets plan to play this weekend. This is despite three previously-planned games with the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"We've informed the St. Louis Cardinals of our decision," Mets General Manager Omar Minaya said at a press conference here this afternoon, "and they were very, very supportive. I think the St. Louis organization recognizes that the season has gone long enough; they wished us well in our series against the Brewers."

St. Louis General Manager John Mozeliak, whose team is only two games behind the Brewers for the NL Wild Card, and three games behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central Division lead, characterized the conversation with Minaya a bit differently. "Has Minaya lost his fucking mind? They are in first place for one day and suddenly the season is over? I know that the collapse last year really messed him up, but this is a new low, even for the Mets."

Despite the criticism from other teams in the division that are not currently in first place, several Mets players endorsed their management's decision: "How can we be expected to remain in first place for more than a few days?" A bewildered Aaron Heilaman asked rhetorically. "I got Jayson Werth to pop out with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. I put us in first place! Aren't the fans happy yet? We have to do this for another two months? No way, no way. Enough is enough."

Heilman's teammate Jose Reyes elaborated on the relief pitcher's sentiments. "We good. Playoffs good. I like baseball."

Asked whether the win against Philadelphia contributed to the timing of their request, Minaya was dismissive: "Not at all, not at all. I've said for many years that the regular season should be 102 games, and should end about a week and half after the all-star game. Of course I am thrilled that we have won our second division title in three years, and the guys deserve a lot of credit, but this has nothing to do with the standings."

Mets interim manager Jerry Manuel was quick to agree. "I think Omar was planning to make this request of Commissioner Selig at the end of the Philly series win, lose or draw. These seasons drag on for way too long, and it makes a lot of sense to start the playoffs in the summer when everyone can enjoy them."

The Commissioner's office promised to take the matter under advisement, and hinted that an emergency session of Congress may be convened over the weekend to consider the Mets' request.

Jose Reyes is not expected to testify at the hearing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mets to Fans: "Fuck You, Fans!"

Shame on you, Mets fans.

What were you thinking? Have you forgotten last September? I hope a little 10-game winning streak didn’t scramble your brain so badly that you actually entertained the thought that—despite a 3-run lead in the 9th—the Metsies might overtake the Phils for first place.

Oh, you were thinking that?

Again, shame on you.

The Mets did their best to make it quite clear to anyone paying attention that they had absolutely zero intention of winning last night. You certainly should have noticed during the 8th. It started with Endy Chavez inexplicably stopping at second base, seeming to say, “A triple? Nah, man, I’m good here. A 3-run lead is plenty, friend.”

The next batter, David Wright, proceeded to dunk a little liner into right field, just over the outstretched glove of Chase Utley. Right-fielder Jayson Werth is right on it, so what does third-base coach Luis Aguayo do in this scenario where holding Endy would create a 1st-and-3rd with nobody out for our cleanup hitter?

He fucking sends him.

Endy, of course, is out by a friggin’ mile. So clearly the both of them conspired to prevent the Mets from padding the lead. (Also, why not nail the catcher? I know Endy’s not the biggest guy out there, but if the ball is gonna beat you and the catcher is blocking the plate, why the hell would you slide directly into his foot? He came a lot closer to a broken ankle than touching the plate.)

This, incidentally, was the second time Aguayo waved Endy home directly into being tagged out. And to think, not getting thrown out at home was, until recently, something the Mets were actually good at.

Then, in the 9th, well, all hell broke loose, typified by Jose Reyes’s inane bases-loaded, nobody-out-yet non-out-get. (I’m still to flustered by his hesitation to come up with a better name for it than that.)

I’m tempted to say last night’s loss was “devastating” or “heartbreaking” or something of the like. “Season-killing” I suppose would be more accurate. That is, if I had harbored some fool’s hope that the Mets might come through this year. And if you, poor reader, were one of those who did, then yes,


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And then there was one . . .

ChuckJerry is 30 today. Happy birthday, old man. That leaves only one of our number still in their 20s.

Open Bar -- you better make it count, man.

Monday, July 21, 2008


The New York Giants have traded Jeremy Shockey to the New Orleans Saints for a second- and a fifth-round pick in the 2009 draft. The deal is pending league approval and a physical exam.

I am pretty conflicted on this deal, but ultimately I am on board. First, the reasons why it makes sense:

1. Shockey was going to become a major distraction once training camp got fully underway. Shockey wanted out, he bullied Eli, and he was not going to be ok with Kevin Boss getting more and more playing time. This is probably reason enough to have traded him. From what I can tell, Shockey is the kind of guy who can be a major distraction in the locker room, and could easily undermine Eli's (now deserved) leadership position. And while the Giants certainly don't need to protect Eli from every loudmouth jerk on the team -- there will always be a few -- Shockey's discontent had grown beyond the garden variety.

2. Shockey is a little overrated. Calm down, calm down. Shockey was a very good tight end, and he is going to improve the Saints immediately (they were already a candidate for most improved NFL team this year, and this trade helps them immensely). But his flair for the dramatic (both on the field and off), and his insistence at running directly at the opposing team when they try to tackle him (not to mention a mild case of Jason Sehorn syndrome from the press and the fans) earned him a reputation as one of the premier tight ends in the league that may not have been deserved. Shockey drops way too many passes, refuses to block, and gets way too many stupid taunting and personal fouls. He is also prone to injury; he never once played in all 16 regular season games in his six-year career with the Giants.

3. The Giants draft well. Giants GM Jerry Reese only has two drafts under his belt, but both have been very, very solid (in the first, Reese took five players who would make meaningful contributions in the Superbowl as rookies. That is extraordinary). With seven picks in the first five rounds of the 2009 draft (I am assuming - but don't know for sure - that they have all of their other picks), the Giants could be in a position to build a very solid team around Eli for many years to come.

4. Boss arguably fits the Giants offensive scheme better than Shockey. Boss is unproven (see below), yes, but has shown signs that he will fit in with Eli perfectly in the 2008 campaign. The Giants are a running team with several strong options for the pass (Burress, Toomer, the emerging Steve Smith, etc.). They don't really need a tight end who is going to catch 8-10 passes a game. Instead, they need a guy who can block for both the pass and the run, but who has good enough hands that the quarterback can rely on him as a mid- to deep threat when the need arises. Consider this: in the Giants final three games last year, Boss caught one pass in each game, each for more than 10 yards (the last, a 45-yd strike in the Superbowl, was the most memorable).

So are you convinced? Me too, except when I consider the following:

1. The Giants traded a Pro Bowl TE for two guys who cannot join the team for more than a year. This is risky business. I understand that the team didn't have a whole lot of choice here, but they sure did not get any proven players in return for a proven player. I know Jason Taylor wasn't a great fit for us, but with him going to the Redskins yesterday, I am a little surprised the Giants didn't find a way to cut a three-way deal with Miami and New Orleans (which is apparently what the Saints were trying to do), if for no other reason than to keep Washington from getting him. I guess the problem is that the Saints knew Shockey wanted out, and didn't have to offer the farm to get him. I just wonder whether, had the Giants balked at this deal, and then won their first two or three games of the season with meaningful contributions from Shockey, we wouldn't all be breathing collective sigh of relief for holding back. We'll see.

2. Boss is unproven. The Kevin Boss thing was very exciting last year. But the Kevin Maas thing was exciting a few years before that. I am not suggesting he can't be a serviceable tight end, but I think we need to resist the temptation to suggest that the Giants haven't lost anything here. This guy has played in 13 regular season games in his career, and was only thrown to in five of them. He has yet to catch his tenth career pass, or score his third career touchdown. I am excited about seeing what he can do every day, but it is risky to send a pro bowler to another team in favor of a somewhat unproven rookie.

To me the bottom line is that the Giants were low on options here. They had a star player who wanted out; they got what the could for him, and will roll the dice with a second-year player who could be a perfect fit, but could just as easily leave the team wishing they had put up with Shockey's antics for another year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Sound and the Fury and Open Bar

Critics? Argh, who needs them?

Well, actually we all do, especially when they give glowing reviews of our work.

Way to go, big guy; we're all very proud. Just don't forget the little people when you go all big time on us.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Not Quite So Definitive There, Mikey

So Russo on the air essentially tried to quash the rumor that they were breaking up. Francessa, on the other hand, addressed the issue before he went on vacation and was far less definitive on the future of the show.

Toward the end he basically says, "well we're at a point where something needs to happen. Either we'll stay together or we'll break up, but that will be determined over the course of this summer." That's fucking interesting, man.

Today is the day that Francessa comes back from vacation, and they will be on the air together. Tune in at 1pm.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This Just In!!!!!!

Breaking news tonight!!! Extra, extra read all about it!!!

Jesse Jackson said something rude about Barack Obama on an 'open mic'.

Sources say it had something to do with Senator Obama and black people.

He has apologized.

The Obama Camp says that Senator Obama accepts his apology.

More on this sensational story at 11.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dear Mets Fans,

Alright, so the Mets have won four in a row. 3 against the NL East champion Phillies, and one against 10-2 Tim Lincecum. Carlos Beltran has been hitting well. They showed some real heart in Illadelph in two out of those three wins and all that is well and good. I guess about now we're envisioning winning series against the Giants and Rockies and maybe even going into the All Star break with a lead in the division. Let's not bet the farm on any of those things yet. There is, however, one reason for Mets fans to be excited.

The Pelf

Mike Pelfrey has won all 5 of his last 5 starts and has really been pitching in a dominant fashion for about 2 months now. We're not talking acceptable, we're talking dominant. I happened to be at the game about a month ago when the Pelf outpitched Brandon Webb, threw 8 shutout innings and got trotted out for the 9th in a clear boneheaded move by the brain trust of Wille Randolph and Rick Peterson, and then they brought in Wagner who promptly blew the save.

In case we're counting, Mets fans, there are currently 4 (somewhat) reliable starters in the Mets rotation. Johan has been getting hsoed by his teammates who apparently hate him, but has been pitching well. Maine is consistent and also consistent. Perez is hit or miss, as always, but has been very good recently, and he only needs confidence to get going. Their sucky starter? Some young upstart named Pedro Martinez. I think he'll figure it out soon. His arm is healthy, so that's what's important.

Bad Job There, Mikey:
subtitled, How The Fuck Did We Miss This?

Apparently there were rumors about two weeks ago that Mike and the Mad Dog were breaking up. Francessa has been on vacation for a couple weeks, and the rumor was that they had likely done their last show together.

Chris Russo, not on vacation, used the monologue of the show recently to deny the rumors.

Well, where there's smoke there's fire. I wonder if this has any truth to it. If you watched the video you saw that Russo said they had been arguing a lot and were basically kindof baiting each other for a while, and then they discussed it and it's behind them. Irecently was listening (two to three months ago) when they were both saying they can't imagine working anywhere else and that they would essentially have to be dragged out of the studio on their death beds.

Still, interesting. If the shit went down, I wonder which of them they would keep? My bet would be Russo, but I can't say for certain. Francessa is due back on Friday, so I wonder if they'll bring it up again. I'll be glued to the YES network at 1pm. I probably won't.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hashing The 4th

The 4th of July is dope. Happy independence day to everyone. Believe it or not, I myself have been blogging fairly consistently since June of 2004. Here's a recap of my thoughts on independence day:
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Born on the 4th of July.

Happy Independence Day to all you Americans out there. This is a purely American holiday that falls in the perfect time of year. I know the founding fathers didn't really plan it this way, but this holiday really couldn't fall in a better place on the calendar. It really starts off the summer on the right foot.

I love the reflection on our history along with the general laid back attitude that goes along with what's typically a lazy summer day. Also seeing fireworks is still as breathtaking as it was when I was a little kid. Give it up for Independence, Freedom, Life, Liberty, and Happiness (as well as the pursuit thereof).

Maddox Hates Me

Maddox is the dude who writes the best page in the universe. His little essays are very funny.

Apparently, though, Maddox hates me. His latest diatribe is about people who write puns and like Dave Matthews. Just when I was starting to think I was cool, and mere weeks before my 30th birthday when I can no longer, by definition, be cool, unless I'm an Irish rock star (Dolores O'Riordan, anyone?).

Though I would like to point out the irony of Maddox writing the self described "best page in the universe", while also railing against narcissism. In fairness, however, it is one of the better pages in the universe.