Some Japanese pitcher has created a new pitch that's basically a forkball and a knuckleball mixed together with a hint of ridiculous.
The pitch is pure junkball, so Jamie Moyer will no doubt throw 25-30 of them tomorrow vs. the Cubs.
Some Japanese pitcher has created a new pitch that's basically a forkball and a knuckleball mixed together with a hint of ridiculous.
The pitch is pure junkball, so Jamie Moyer will no doubt throw 25-30 of them tomorrow vs. the Cubs.
Michigan QB Nick Sheridan - 11/19, 98 Yards
That translates to 5.2 yards per attempt. Terrible numbers, and though you can chalk it up to any number of things (the fact that Sheridan sucks, the new Michigan offense, whatever), the fact is that the spread is just an elaborate system of screens, hitches and slants. It kills the vertical passing game, and I hate it.
To put those YPA numbers in perspective, only 6 NFL teams had YPA numbers that were that bad last year, all of which from teams that had little or no talent at QB (St. Louis, Kansas City, Miami, Baltimore, Carolina and San Fransico).
So much is being made of the need to figure out how to slow down the spread around College Football, but I think it comes down to two or three things: speed, solid tackling and assignment discipline. Teams with enough of each can shut down a spread attack with relative ease.
Pointless and flawed rant over.
Because wasting my time on one blog that no one reads wasn't doing it for me anymore, I've started another one--if you can call it that. Really, it's more of a rip-off of other, "Hey, look how dumb people are!" blogs/websites, only much, much nerdier. Fortunately, I'll never have to spend more than ninety seconds posting on this one.
Anyway, I'll probably forget about it in a month, so until I do, enjoy.
"You make your own luck."
Like most other sports axioms, "you make your own luck" is nonsense--or, at best, good sense bastardized. Yet, frequent misattributions of skill and all-out dismisals of luck have given literal truth to this folxymoron in the minds of many.
That said, "you make your own luck" can be credible defense in the face of hastily ascribed luck. The implication in such cases, however, is not that honest-to-goodness random luck is really within our conscious control but that the thing we're calling "luck" is actually a mixture of luck and some glossed-over causal factors.
Two days ago, Jay Jaffe of the Baseball Prospectus posted this article in which he examines trends among teams that overachieve in the standings, according to their Pythagorean win-loss projection. The question has nagged me for the better part of the past two seasons. Is there a common link among teams that outperform their Pythagorean projections, or is it--as is typically argued--sheer luck?
This explanation never sat well with me, but the performances of the 2007 Diamondbacks and this year's Angels have ratcheted my skepticism up a notch. Intuitively, it would make sense that both the Angels and last year's Snakes--two teams with below-average offensive production, good pitching, and excellent bullpens--would juice a few extra wins out of their run differentials by being proficient at holding small leads and unlikely to notch blowout wins.
Jaffe points to fairly strong evidence that there is, in fact, a discernable correlation between bullpen strength and D3--that is, the difference between a team's actual record and their third-order Pythagorean projection (which takes into account a more refined version of run differential and opponent strength):
Of the 15 teams above who played after 1953 (the boundary of our sortable stat database), 14 of them had bullpens that finished in the top three in the league in Reliever Expected Wins Added (WXRL), and the trend continues if we round out the list of post-1953 third-order overachievers to an even 20...
He goes on to explain that there is also a correlation--though not as strong--between starting pitching and a high D3. That's not surprising, but I wonder if the correlation would be stronger if a certain percentage of "bad" starts were excluded. As an example, consider this 10-game sample of games for my favorite team, the Faketown Invisibles, in which they were outscored 40-25 but managed to go 8-2:
You see, the Invisibles' 1 through 4 starters are efficient craftsmen who pitch 7+ quality innings every time they take the mound before handing the game to their one-two bullpen combo of flamethrowing studs. Unfortunately, Faketown's fifth starter is the 42 year-old Jim Bullinger, who last pitched in the big leagues in 1998. Every fifth game, Bully trots out there, does his thing, and after 3 2/3 innings of 8-run ball, he gives way to the Invisibles' longman, Bob Scanlan, who typically gets tagged for a few more runs. By the seventh, the game is more or less an extra BP session for the Cityville Otherdudes.
A reasonable version of this scenario could--I think--skew a team's run differential enough to distort their Pythagorean win-loss quite a bit, especially if they're a light-hitting bunch. Unfortunately, my request to Mr. Jaffe that he run some analysis on the Jim Bullinger Factor has so far gone unfulfilled, so I can't know for sure.
All this leads me to wonder: Is Pythagorean winning percentage a useful tool at all? If nothing else, I'd say the predictive powers of run differential are exaggerated and, at times, abused. Isn't the whole point of a predictive tool to account for lurking variables and adjust for drifts? Obviously, creating a predictive method for wins with excellent correlation to a single counting stat and zero correlation to all others would be virtually impossible.
But the link that Jaffe highlights seems a bit too glaring to have tremendous faith in Pytahogorean winning percentage as a baseline level of performance. Nevertheless, observers who accept the predictive power of crude run differential have branded teams who outperform their Pythagorean as "lucky"--often in weirdly resentful way--when the reality may be that the method sells them short.
The appeal of Pythagorean win-loss, of course, is its simplicity, but there must be ways to improve upon it without undermining that simplicity. Why not narrow the sample of a team's games? Instead of counting their entire run output for the season, chop off the single game run differentials that fall at the margins. Doing so should filter out those meaningless runs scored off AAAA tomato cans late in blowouts. Then again, maybe adjustments like this would only move the error from place to another.
Regardless, I think it's a question worth the scrutiny, given how much stock literate baseball minds put into Pythagorean win-loss marks. Jaffe's article is pretty clear evidence that the method has a hitch, and if that's the case, it should be tweaked, lest we wish to acknowledge that good bullpens make their own luck.
This post is totally not sports related, but earlier this week, Vinnie did already post on politics -- which has the sports-like elements of competition and a scoring system. Moreover, I'm hoping to generate some serious hits with this post.
Anyways, my current/temporary roommate pointed out tonight that "Obama and Biden" sounds a lot like "Osama bin Laden." He's right, and he's probably not the first person to observe this phenomenon.
However, I do think YCS will be the first forum on entire internet to post an official "Osama Bin Laden" graphic. "Change is so naive, man" was the closest match to "Change we can believe in" that I could conceive in less than 90 seconds.
Now, I hope this post and graphic don't offend the couple of diehard Democrats at YCS. Remember, I don't dislike Obama; I'm just more of a Bob Barr guy. Good night.
According to SI's tease, it reads "Find out why so many people hate the Cubs." Now, after growing up in a family of White Sox fans, going to college in Milwaukee and law school in St. Louis, I was expecting to see some pretty familiar arguments as to why others think the Cubs are the scum of the earth. The article was probably going to stretch on and on for pages and pages. This is the only part of the articlethat approaches criticism.
Rick Reilly has a notion:
All (two) of you asked for it (probably in jest), so here it is--a continuation of my last post.
Golf is not a sport. Golf is a physical skills competition, and it may even be generous to call it that given how poorly it fits the survival instinct aspect of the "athletic" part of the triangle. But certainly, there is no interplay. Contest that if you must ("If a guy's down by two strokes instead of one, he'll play a different shot!" Sorry, you're missing my point), but I'm not backing off the fact that it's ultimately just an individual challenge. Mano a pelota.
Remember that junk I said about agendas and slippery slope comparisons? Guess what; I'm pulling both those cards right here. If golf is a sport, I'll argue that cornhole, a.k.a. bags has a pretty solid claim. So does that old carnival game where you swing the huge mallet and try to slide the thingy up the pole to ring the bell. Those things are awesome, and I wish I owned one.
As for agendas, maybe I subconsciously formulated my definition to be one that excludes golf. I won't say I hate golf. I've played it on rare occasions and have sorta moderately enjoyed it I think. Neither do I dislike all golfers--only my stereotype of the obnoxious, fatheaded, impressed-by-his-connections-to-county-level-politicians golfer who doesn't understand that no one's interested in his war stories from the course. Even if I were a little ambivalent on the sportitude of golf, I think that guy would ruin it for me.
Auto racing comes a much closer to being a sport, but it's hard to justify on the athleticism criteria. I understand that drivers need to have excellent muscular endurance and precision in the arms and that the mental fatigue can cause tremendous physical duress. But the physical mechanisms used to drive an automobile are less survivalist than they are facilitative--similar to performing surgery or basket weaving. Therefore, I think it fits better in the poorly-named-in-hindsight "nerd competitions" category.
Self-propelled human being racing events as a general category--be it swimming, running, cycling, etc.--are sports to the extent that they involve an element of defense. Sprints (e.g. 100m, 200m) are obviously just physical skills competitions, as the runners / swimmers are confined to their lanes, and the objective is setting a personal best as much as it is beating the other competitors. Ultimately, the other runners have no effect on one runner's performance.
On the other hand, cycling and some distance running events do have an element of interplay in that a runner gives himself an advantage not only by running fast--the element that can be equally performed in a (figurative) vacuum--but also by getting in the way of another competitor. The relative effect of this element is, I suppose, debatable, so I've got no problem with either the sport or physical skills competition distinction. Your call. To make Pat happy, I'll err on the side of sport in this case. Also, I like distance running. (Hey, remember that part at the beginning of this thing about selective inclusion / exclusion and skewed logic? I don't either.)
Whoa, look at the time... Lunch break's over. If anyone wants to pick this up further, be my guest, but it's time for me to get back to writing stuff and making colorful diagrams for people that pay me.
In Part I of this two-part post, I began to write something, abruptly cut off what I was writing, made some excuses, and told you all to go to hell. Tonight, in the riveting conclusion to this series, I flesh out my cockamamie definition of sport that I was segwaying to at the end of Part I.
Now I realize everyone has his own opinion of what constitutes a sport, but the problem with most of these opinions is that they're horrible. Almost without exception, the definitions formed are incoherent and framed around an agenda to include competitions that they enjoy and exclude those they do not. The result is most often a ridiculous conclusion like, "If NASCAR is a sport, then playing Paperboy is a sport."
While you may agree with that statement, the string of logic that led you there is probably dumber than Chris Matthews (sorry... DNC coverage on in the background. Politics is for idiots, by the way). And that's the problem.
Of course, the reason I wanted to open this can of Chris Matthewses now is that Olympic events are often the most contentious centerpieces and/or weapons in this debate, and many of you likely engaged in some form of it during the past two weeks. In fact, it was such an argument during the '06 winter games involving a few of us YCSies that first inspired me to attempt a cohesive definition of sport that--if not palatable to anyone else--would at least offer a better conclusion to similar future debates than the one that ended ours (which I believe was the hurling of empty beer cans, as February '06 was during the pinnacle of our empty beer can-hurling phase... ah, but enough reminiscing).
What has resulted from my labor of two-and-a-half years not thinking about this subject followed by a single week of thinking about this subject is my proudest achievement to date. I call it, "Vinnie's Awesome Triangle of Defining 'Sport' and Non-Sport Sport-Like Things."
The triangle is centered around my opinion that for something to be a sport, it must have all of three indispensible elements. They are:
Scoring. A sport must have scoring--that is, any agreed-upon system, whether it be objective or not, for determining a winner. Now, I know a lot of people will object to putting subjective scoring systems on par with objective ones. To that I say: Just look at how arbitrary some of the scoring systems in our objectively scored games are. And that's to say nothing of the governance of their rules (NBA, anyone??? Hell-ooo-ohhh!!!) Scoring is represented by yellow on the triangle, symbolizing the yellow sun that illuminates scores written in newsprint, even though no one reads newspapers anymore except old people.
Athletic skill. I don't think many people should have an issue with this part of the definition. Of course, what constitutes athletic skill is debatable, but I would like to suggest it is any combination of the Platonic "gifts of the flesh"--a term I just made up for what are actually known as the nine componenets of physical fitness. I'd like to further suggest that these qualities become athletic only when used in way that emulates our survival instincts of domination, defense, and procreation. I have represented athletic skill in red on the triangle to symbolize the heat of battle, the flow of blood through the body, and fire trucks.
Interplay. By interplay, I mean the immediate, interreactive exchange by which one opponent's actions are both necessary to and dictated by the other opponent's actions. This is--in my opinion--the most crucial, yet the most stretched and abused element of sport. In an effort to be inclusive, we (by which I mean everyone except me and other people who are right about this) have been willing to overlook the interplay component entirely and have consequently labeled things that are individual challenges performed concurrently with other people as "sports." More than anyone, I blame a certain class of people for this, but I won't name names right now. Interplay is represented on the triangle by blue, symbolizing... I don't know... beauty or Jesus or something.
As you can see, I've come up with names for the orange, green, and purple zones on the triangle as well. These may or may not be good names, but I think their distinctions from my definition of sport are fairly obvious in that they simply lack one of the three components.
Also, becuase I do think the distinction between objective scoring methods and commie-sympathizing, pro-Chinese-biased subjective judging methods is at least worth representing, I made a modified version of the triangle with orange, green, and sport subdivided for this distinction:
To clarify these subdivisions, here is the triangle with an example of each category filled in:
I realize that I've made sport very exclusive, and that's intentional. Our culture's current conception of sport is inclusive to a fault, leading to a slippery slope that has fostered poker on ESPN and IOC consideration of competetive eating. If correcting the imbalance means Phelpsy's eight golds came in "physical skills competitions" instead of sports, I don't think anyone would care, nor would they be asking for swimming to be removed from the Olympics. But I think de-jumbling the term "sport" from the heterogeneous mess it's become would be helpful to everyone.
Now I'd hoped to expand on my Vinnie Triangle of Awesomeness or whatever I called it by slotting Olympic events into their respective categories, as well as by individually addressing the most contentious sport / non-sport subjects (auto racing, bowling, etc.). But I can feel my writing getting really lazy and uninteresting, which I think is my body saying it's bedtime. And as Cosmo Kramer said, that's one argument you can't win or something like that.
Part III, anyone??????????????
With the controversies from the 2008 Olympics still under investigation, the controversies for the 2012 London games are already under way. The earliest controversy includes the sports of Men's and Women's Olympic Football. In each Olympics, as in other single-site tournaments, the host nation is granted an automatic place in the tournament. (Hence Greece somehow managing to scrape together enough baseball players to furnish a team.) Other nations may need to go through qualifying stages.
As such, Great Britain is allotted an automatic spot in the Olympic tournament for every team sport. The problem however, is that the International Olympic Committe recognizes "Great Britain" whereas FIFA, soccer's world governing body recognizes "England," "Scotland," "Wales," and "Northern Ireland." As you can guess (or infer from this present Olympics), there is no Great Britain team in existence...nor has there ever been. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have been independent footballing nations for decades.
It seems like a relatively simple problem to fix...just combine the sides into a one-off team for the 2012 Olympics. But it is not as simple as that. First, how would such a team be picked? By the best players available? Or by quotas (Say....a 23-man roster with 12 English, 6 Scots, 3 Welsh and 2 Northern Irish?) However, this would likely not work, because in no sport more than soccer and in no place more than the United Kingdom does it appear to be wrapped up in national identity. The Scottish National team is one of the few cases on the world stage where Scotland is Scotland, and not part of the United Kingdom; where Scots can cheer on their own country. Secondly, even if such a team were to be formed, it would undoubtedly pick the best players available, and frankly, most if not all of them would be English, if only due to the larger population and talent pool, not to mention facilities and training infrastructure.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has made it clear that he is not impressed , and does not want Scotland to play any role in a "Team Great Britain." And frankly, he has a point. Why uproot 100+ years of tradition of Scotland as a footballing nation just to put 3 players on a one-off U-23 team. Why even risk it?
At long last, the games of the XXIX Olympiad have ended, which means Bob Costas can return to HBO, Chris Collinsworth can return to being a condescending football analyst, the forced child labor that performed in the opening and closing ceremonies can return to their meager-paying day jobs, and of course, us sports fans can revert to our usual state of ignorance for track, swimming, and gymnastics.
That said, plenty of people will remain in denial for a time, insisting that the feats of Michael Fred Phelps have permanently instilled in them a love for competetive swimming or that Nastia Liukin's incredible grace and svelte physique awoke an unrealized appreciation for women's gymnastics and not just a perverse fascination with barely-legal coeds, a la certain sicko friends of mine. Inevitably, though, these same people--in spite of their best intentions--will find themselves opting for a June airing of NFL Live over the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships by next year.
I'm here to say: Don't feel guilty about it. You shouldn't find these competitions as entertaining or interesting as our beloved American team sports. For one, you didn't grow up on them like you grew up on baseball, and it's proven scientific fact that once we get beyond 18 months old or so, we lose the capacity to adopt new interests.
But that's not the only reason we don't truly enjoy Olympic events when the Olympic element is taken away. It's more fundamental. Sprinting, swimming, gymnastics, diving, wheightlifting, skulls--these things all lack complexity or strategy or brutality or some other trait that's so vital to the team sports we love. And although few people will admit it for fear of being labeled ignorant or fatheaded, I think we all know the truth: We lose interest in these events after the Olympics because they are not sports at all.
[8/25/08, 12am: I've made the decision to cut this post here for now because I'm getting tired and won't be able to finish tonight. I'll hopefully have the rest of this post in which I flesh out this lofty hypothesis by tomorrow night while it's still almost relevant or else just never finish it. It's not like anyone reads, so really, I shouldn't bother. Forget I even said anything. From now on, I'm going to bed at 10pm flat every night and never staying up to finish a post or otherwise interact with the outside world. You're hardly worth my valuable brain power, so go to hell.]
Mark Spitz has claimed (perhaps tongue-in-cheek, perhaps not...you really can't tell from the article) that the only person who could beat Michael Phelps is Mark Spitz. Rocky VI-style CGI duels between athletes from different eras aside, let's examine the six events that both Phelps and Spitz swam in their respective record-setting Olympics. (Note: Each one of these times set a new world record in their respective events at the time.)
Event----- Spitz in 1972 (Phelps in 2008)
200m FREE 1:52.78 (1:42.96)
100m FLY 54.27 (50.58)
200m FLY 2:00.70 (1:52.03)
4x100 FREE Relay 3:26.42 (3:08.24)
4x200 FREE Relay 7:35.78 (6:58.56)
4x100 Medley Relay 3:48.16 (3:29.34)
Say what you want about different swimsuit fabrics and different pools affecting the times, but we've seen what a big deal it is to break a world record by a half-second or so. The closest a 1972 Spitz comes to a 2008 Phelps is the nearly four seconds he would finish behind Phelps after just two lengths of the pool in the 100m Butterfly. Had Spitz's time been a finishing time in the 2008 100m Butterfly Final, it would have been in last place...only about two seconds behind Ryan Pini of Papua New Guinea.
Going either further back, it would have been the last-place time in the Semifinals for that event as well.
Note: I am in no way an expert in swimming, and realize this entire post contradicts what I wrote on.....Christ.....Monday. However, I can read a stopwatch.
While I have been known to give the Olympics a lot of crap for being a bunch of sports no one cares about outside of the Olympics (Gymnastics, Fencing, etc.) I more than appreciate what the Olympics are. However, despite the celebration of obscure sports like team handball and water polo, I think the Olympics could be better served by kicking some of the more mainstream sports out of the ring.
In my opinion, the Olympics should be the greatest stage of international competition in a given sport. This is why everyone remembers Michael Johnson winning gold in Atlanta 12 years ago, but hardly anyone remembers who took home the title at the next World Championships. With that, I would like to recommend the following sports be eliminated from the Olympic program.
For each of these sports, the fact remains that the Olympics are not the grandest scale for athletes to compete in international competition.
Baseball has already been taken out of the rotation for London 2012, and I imagine the advancement of the World Baseball Classic may send the idea of Olympic baseball sliding even further into irrelevance. While winning the World Series may be the dream of every baseball player since they were a child, I'm differentiating club and international competition. While the idea of national teams is still a new one for baseball (Hell, players actually coming from different countries is only a handful of decades old), the World Baseball Classic, if its first go-around is to be believed, is fast becoming the gold standard for international baseball competition. This is the competition where the stars and professionals come out to play. Of course its timing in March instead of the midst of a pennant push in August might have something to do with it, but that seems only to heighten its irrelevance. If baseball did have full functioning national teams, the Olympics would be like the fourth-stringers.MEN'S SOCCER
Other rejected slogans:
"Riffraff officially priced out"
"The Clubhouse on Madison"
"Only a 40-minute drive from Highland Park!"
"Your Lincoln Navigator is safe in Lot C"
"A reason to wear that tailored Chicago Bulls golf shirt"
"Our temporary tattoos are now lead-free"
"Your kids will love the fourth-quarter 'YMCA' TV timeout!"
"Where gentrification happens"
(Wait... did I just audition to be a Late Show writer? ...Yuck.)
Regrettably, more than half of the Olympics has gone by with almost zero coverage on this blog. No track posts by Pat. No soccer posts by Mike. Not even a single a skulls post by Matt. However, there is one matter that must not go unaddressed.
It has come to my attention in the last few days that many male Olympic spectators--including certain YCS authors and fans--have been experiencing, shall I say, inappropriate notions while watching women's gymnastics competition. Disgusting, I know, but if you can believe it, some men have been ogling the competitors rather than admiring them for their athletic skills.
Allow me to be the first to say: You are all sick and demented. Some of those girls are only sixteen! Do you know how young that is? They're pratically babies, even though if this were biblical times they'd all have borne children themselves by now. I don't care if some of the competitors are only seven or eight years younger than you, which wouldn't amount to much when you were, say, 47 and 54. It makes no difference. Those girls are young enough to be your nieces, for God's sake, assuming you have one of those crazy families where your brother is fifteen years older than you. That's just wrong.
Just because many of them are of legal consent age, that doesn't make it okay either, except in the eyes of the state and most people living under the law. Nor does the fact that some of them are in college or old enough to be in college, and seriously, what's so wrong about a guy in his mid-20s with a college freshman because it's really not that big a thing when you think about it. Nor the fact that many of the 16 year-old girls who have baby faces clearly have potential but just need to finish developing and turn seventeen. That doesn't make it right.
And let's not forget the fact that the girls on the Chinese team are obviously not sixteen. A few barely look thirteen. I mean, if you're one of those guys with a fetish for Asian women, that's totally fine and cool by me. Exploitation of children is a different story. That's something that should never, ever be taken in jest.
Let's stop it now. Michael Phelps has not automatically claimed the title of "greatest Olympian ever" or "best athlete on the planet" just because of his performances over the last week.
First of all, let's face it: the number of gold medals he will ultimately earn will be skewed no matter what the total. See, fortunately for Michael Phelps, his sport has the greatest number of sub-events of any Olympic sport. Kobe Bryant could win 8 gold medals too if they had a 5-on-5 men's basketball tournament, a 5-on-5 tournament with games that were half the length of regulation games, a 3-on-3 tournament, a one-on-one contest, a dunk contest, a lay-up drill, synchronized dribbling, and an open-floor, freestyle jump shot routine. Thus, Phelps is arguably just a beneficiary of a system that provides more events for his sport. Maybe I don't understand the nuances of the 200-m individual medley vs. the 200-m freestyle. But correct me if I'm wrong: both of these are swimming events of equal lengths, are they not? Wouldn't somebody who excels in one 200-m swim be expected to be pretty damn good at another one?
Also, Michael Phelps joins the rest of today's athletes in an era of training labs with advanced computerized biophysical analysis, outstanding nutritional supplements, low-oxygen training tents, and almost certainly steroids that we still don't know how to detect by tests. Thus, like his other colleagues in the realm of elite athletes (e.g. Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, etc.), he simply cannot be compared to previous generations of athletes. I don't know how many times that argument needs to be made.
Finally, I have to add the other classic but again appropriate argument against the title of "greatest Olympian ever": he's excelling in one sport alone. If he were doing a floor routine in gymnastics tonight and competing in a swim relay tomorrow, maybe he gets consideration then. However, we all know that no one can ever earn the designation of "greatest athlete ever" simply because there is no way to compare people across sports. As Kip says in Napoleon Dynamite, "Come on, Napoleon, like anyone can even know that."
So shut up about Michael Phelps already.
Just in case anyone of you guys want a preview into what player I'm looking at taking at number five, it will be tough to pass on the new Fajita Steak Melt at Taco Bell. Seriously, this may be the best new item Taco Bell has brought aboard in years and worth clogging your arteries for (can't find a damn picture of it on Google though).
Oh, and by orders of the commissioner here, I demand that Darren McFadden drops to my spot or else I give you the Polish curse that leads to behavior like this.
Presently in Toronto, there is big controversy as the city's main teams play stadium musical chairs. If you believe what you read in the papers, the Toronto Argonauts (CFL) are looking to move from their present home at Rogers Centre to the smaller-capacity BMO Field, the soccer-specific stadium home to Toronto FC (MLS).
This would require renovation of BMO, specifically lengthening it, and require ugly football lines laid down on top of the soccer lines. I like football. I like soccer. Just not on the same field.
TFC already has a reputation as one of the best home supporters in the league, and moving them farther away from the action would certainly lessen the unique atmosphere at BMO. Fans currently sit only about 20 feet from the endline. The Argos are citing fellow CFL team Montreal Allouette's move from Olympic Stadium to a smaller stadium and how the team rebounded from there.
Like I said, this is how it's all going to go down if you believe what you read in the media. However, as an unlicensed member of the media, let's cut through the bullshit here. This isn't going to happen. Or at least, it's not going to happen for long. What the Argos should realize is that if they move from Rogers Centre to BMO Field, that leaves a perfectly functional NFL-sized venue unoccupied every year once the Blue Jays have finished another run to mediocrity. With the Buffalo Bills already playing pre-season games there, and probably desperate to escape one of the NFL's smallest markets, you think they'd stay in Orchard Park long after this option opened up?
If the Bills move to Toronto, it will be the end of the Argos. While the Argos may be the oldest professional football team in North America, the Bills have made serious inroads. The Bills already draw a sizeable portion of their gameday crowds from Toronto. After all, it's a shorter drive from Toronto to Buffalo than it is from Milwaukee to Green Bay. This whole thing is a ploy by the Argos to get a better lease on the stadium from Rogers and the Blue Jays.
I'm calling it right now.
"Tonight's NBC Olympic Encore is brought to you by Ambien CR."
Games of the XXIX Olympiad, Women's (...sorta) Team Gymnastics Final. U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson lands a sweet move. (I'll take their word because what do I know.) Color commentator proclaims:
She is monster tough!
Like I do with most things I find hilarious that no one else cares about, I couldn't help but persue the humor I found in this innocuous comment to excessive lengths. So I checked out Shawn's bio page on the Olympic web site just to see how monstrously tough she really is. Evidently, incredibly so:
During study halls, Johnson often walks animal shelter dogs as part of her school's volunteer program. She has two tabby cats, Max and Vern, who were adopted from a local shelter, and a golden retriever named Tucker.
Lest I mock (or is it too late?), if you click to the "8 things you didn't know about Shawn Johnson" page, you will find this:
She's not grossed out by dissections... A straight-A high school sophomore, Johnson's favorite classes are literature and biology. She's dissected a frog, but found the cow's eye more interesting.
So I take it back. I never even had to dissect a cow's eye in biology class. Then again, there's no word in the second sentence that connects it to the first, so I'd like to interpret that to mean she just gouged a live cow's eye out one day and started carving it up, in which case she really would be a monster. That's sick, Shawn.
Wait, what's this post about again?
UPDATE (of sorts): If you happened to watch this competition, you'll know what I'm talking about or soon will if you watch SportsCenter. But huge, huge "props" to Alicia Sacramone of the U.S. team for putting off what I'd hope was a lifetime's-worth of crying, cursing, and breaking stuff to stick around for a reporter interview after the medal ceremony.
During the competition, she fell twice, proceeded to get shat on by the commentators (especially "monster tough" dude), and then suffered the indignity of NBC showing her on camera swallowing back her emotions during--literally--every single moment of downtime between the remaining routines.
I won't even pull the patronizing "just a kid" card (especially since she's old enough to be a young MLB, NBA, or NHL rookie) but only mention it because Mary Carillo on NBC just did. Just: That's impressive.
With new free agent signings, contract disputes, and the arrival of first round draft pick Messiah Braveheart dominating the headlines this training camp, an unlikely standout who has flown under the radar is finally starting to open some eyes.
"Adam has been one of the nice surprises this camp,” said head coach P.R. Cleeshay. “He's really shown me something out there.”
“Adam” is Adam Easterlily, an undrafted free agent rookie wide receiver who has slowly but surely caught the attention of his coaching staff and peers.
“He plays with a lot of intensity out there,” said offensive coordinator Tex “Bud” McCutcheon. “He has good instincts, and he makes plays, and that’s what we like to see.”
Added backup cornerback Shaundarrel James-Johnson, “He’s always going one hundred percent, and he’s a tough competitor. He works hard and competes out there.”
James-Johnson should know. During third-team drills, he has often been assigned to cover Easterlily, the former star at St. Mary of Jesus College—a Division II school with only 330 students and one public restroom—where he holds records for receptions, touchdowns, interceptions, tackles, and field goal accuracy.
“Obviously, it’s a totally different game coming from college to the pro game,” said the former Division II star, “but I think anyone can make it in this league if you’re willing to work hard enough.”
Not only does Easterlily lack the BCS-school pedigree of most of his peers, but he is well undersized by NFL wide receiver standards, measuring in at 5’9” and 175 pounds. Because of his stature and 5.1-second 40-yard dash time at the draft combine—which Adam attributes to being “overly prepared”—all 32 teams balked at Easterlily in the April draft, a decision that he hopes to make them regret.
“I’m not out to prove anything to anyone,” insists the passed-over rookie. “I’m just trying to be as good as I can be and work hard to help the team and, most of all, prove to everyone that I’m good enough to play in this league and that you can succeed by having faith in your abilities and working hard.”
Easterlily has even earned the respect of his fellow receiving corps member and all-pro Chadxico Edwens. “Yeah, he’s got a few skills. You know, competition in camp is always good. It gets everyone to, you know, step up when a guy’s going all out like that.”
Asked whether he could learn from Easterlily’s ability to augment natural physical skills with intelligence and a strong work ethic, Edwens responded, “What the [heck] is that supposed to mean?”
According to Cleeshay, Easterlily will play with the second team in next Saturday’s preseason game before being cut and utterly forgotten by September.
From a Steven Davis mlsnet.com article on the dismissal of LA Galaxy's coach Ruud Gullit, who previously coached in Europe, but like many European coaches, found the unique parity-driven nature of MLS fundamentally different, and challenging...
Ignoring the phrase "Hello, Yankees. What's up, Red Sox?"...
"But that's not the way in MLS, where salary caps and other player acquisition mechanisms are set to keep the playing field, if not completely level, then pretty close to it. Major League Soccer will never be an EPL, a Serie A or La Liga, where two, three or four teams bully the competition and perennially dominate the hardware. There will be no Chelsea, Man United, AC Milan, Barcelona or Real Madrid here. Baseball might work that way in this country (Hello, Yankees. What's up, Red Sox?), but this obviously isn't baseball."
Despite having a blog roster that counts several Cubs fans among its members, the YCS Baseball Roadshow had never reported from 1060 W. Addison. Being given an extra ticket 2 minutes before we had to leave the house, I was naturally psyched for my first trip to Wrigley in more than 3 years. After battling Lake Shore Drive, parking in Lincoln Park and the chronic incompetence of the CTA, we arrived just in time to see Mark DeRosa tie the game with a 1-1 homer in the 2nd. Sadly, this would probably be the high-water mark of the day, as the Cubs proceeded to lose 12-3. Carlos Zambrano also homered which was badass, and from our crappy seats in Section 503, the ball heading into the bleachers was about the only thing we had a good view of (besides the buses lining up on Waveland.)
Despite universally awful reviews, I decided to drop a dollar at the Redbox outside my Jewel last Friday and partake in this recent Will Ferrell picture. These awful reviews drastically lowered my expectations (which are always high for Ferrell's movies), but I'm here to say that Semi-Pro does have a redeeming value to it.
Following the story of the ABA's Flint Tropics, owned by lead character Jackie Moon (portrayed by Ferrell), viewers enjoy the plight of the Tropics as they try to become one of four ABA teams to merge into the NBA the following season. Trumping up the circus-like feel behind the NBA's arch-rival league, Moon's promotional tactics resemble those of former Cubs and White Sox owner Bill Veeck in their utter absurdity. The not so subtle digs at the shiftiness of owners in regards to their proclivity to use bait and switch tactics adds to the outrageous feel of the movie.
Along with the usual over the top antics of Ferrell, Woody Harrelson's character Ed Monix does a great job as the straight man for Moon to play off of. A personal favorite of mine from his days as Job Bluth in Arrested Development, Will Arnett has a fun supporting role as the Tropics color commentator. Semi-Pro also features a solid performance by another cult comedy favorite Andy Richter as Ferrell's assistant.
While not on the level of legendary Ferrell classics like Old School, Anchorman, and Talladega Nights, Semi-Pro is well worth a viewing as a fun little sports comedy. Assuredly hurt from the high expectations initially placed on the film, it works when you take it at its face value as a fun little comedy and not expecting it to be anything extremely memorable.
On the YCS scale of rating movies (the worst movies receiving the Icehouse distinction and the best receiving the Goose Island 312 mark of approval), I give Semi-Pro a solid PBR rating (Fun if you expect a good time, disappointing if you're expecting something special).
Yup, that's right folks. Kyle Orton has been listed as the starting quarterback for Thursday's preseason game against the Chiefs. Look for Orton to dazzle the sell-out crowd with his superior gamesmanship. And in honor of his greatness, I propose that all YCS members take a shot of Jack Daniel's as Orton gets introduced as The Starting Quarterback for your Chicago Bears!
You are Manny Parra, and you just engaged in dugout fisticuffs (albeit briefly) with Prince Fielder and that many guys are holding him back. Nobody bothers holding you back, as they assume you're smart enough to get the fuck outta dodge to avert an hellacious ass whooping.
Before any of you devoted readers panic, rest assured that I have not perished, though I may go another week or so without a post. (Actually, you're very lucky that I'm still here after a deadly twister touched down in my town tonight. As I write this, the lightning continues to strike nearby, which means my laptop could catch a power surge and vaporize my junk at any moment. Oh, the risks I take for our audience...)
After a rather busy weekend and a long day at work, I face another long day or two at work ahead of me, followed by a four-day camping trip to the deep woods where I will re-invent fire and wrestle bears. The earliest I will likely put up a new post is next Monday, but don't worry--I have some doozies in the works! (Note: That assumes my intimate experiences with nature will inspire a doozy or multiple doozies.)
Anyway, I just felt I should warn you all, as I realize roughly 65% of our content lately has come from me, the only one of us who's a big enough dope to gouge time out of worthwhile things to post on here regularly, so there's a decent chance that you may not see any new content until then. (Also, if that's the case, expect a string of random firings when I get back from vacation.)
Behave yourselves while I'm gone, and don't forget to water the petunias! I love you! ...Oh, come here and give your Vinnie a kiss... Bye bye!
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