>> Friday

To: Members of the sports media using hackneyed "stimulus" remarks in regard to free agent signings and the like

From: People with taste

Subject: Stop using them

Please. Just stop. Please.


Informative stuff by informative people (not us)

I meant to share the link to this Hardball Times article from earlier this week for those of who haven't read it because we've debated the topic of "clutch" a number of times here. True to form, I was right.


Isn't he a little old?

I mean, I realize that a lot of guys are pulling out of the WBC, but has it really gotten this desperate?

And does he have multiple-personality disorder? And why would Ed Wade sign a 73 year-old man to play in his outfield when Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell were available this offseason? And why do I keep pursuing this joke when the visible words "Miguel Tejada" under the headline give this away as an obvious typo?


Why doesn't Derrick Rose pass to Aaron Gray more often?

>> Tuesday

It might be that Gray is usually called upon to set screens. Or maybe it's that he's a big, dopey stiff who sucks. Whatever the case, it's probably not because he's white.

Via Marginal Revolution, a BYU economics professor has written a paper on how interracial bias does not exist in the passing patterns of NBA players. This, according to the abstract, demonstrates that "high levels of interracial cooperation can occur in a setting where workers are operating in a highly visible setting with strong incentives to behave efficiently."

Still, though, I'd like someone to do a study proving that Dominican position players in baseball hit and field better in support of Dominican pitchers. Because you know they do. It's all part of their grand plan to eradicate the white man from baseball.


>> Wednesday

I used to think I'd never find a media outlet more anti-soccer than us here at YCS (With the possible exception of Jim Rome, the Bill O'Reilly of ESPN).

Then who rides to the rescue? As always, Fox News.

I'm not sure if this segment is meant to be "news" or "infotainment." Yet amazingly, this video from Fox not only makes the YCS staff look incredibly intelligent and witty (like we needed anyone else to be known for that), but also makes even the staunchest soccer-hater on the blog (Nate?) look like the biggest Stella-swilling, scarf-sporting, song-singing, alliteration-amiable soccerphile.

Note how everyone misses the point of the quote from USSF President Sunil Gulati, which more or less says, "Well, it couldn't hurt."

If they're trying to be funny, they fail miserably at every turn.

If they're trying to be serious, there's too many errors to even know where to begin.

If they're trying to be both, well....despite no posts in a week, we still do it better than they do.

In conclusion, fuck you Fox News. From all of us here at YCS. Yes, even YCP's token conservative.


Stimulate me

>> Tuesday

Apparently Jeffrey Loria spent some of hot stove season lobbying in Washington. Among the scores of questionable projects that will be funded by the $800+ billion stimulus package (assuming it passes) is $150 million to fund a Metromover extension to Marlin Stadium.

That's right--the federal government is planning to fund a mass transit extension to a stadium that may not even be approved by local government which will house one of professional sports' least suuccessful franchises.

What I don't know is whether the extension is contingent on the approval and construction of Marlins Stadium, but if the public works spending in the bill truly is limited to shovel-ready projects, I'm leaning toward no. The big problem here is that apparently there's nothing else to see or do in that neighborhood if, in fact, the extension is built without a stadium in place.

Yes, I realize that expanding public transit is worthy cause and that the project will create jobs (3,000, though? How?). But I'm getting really sick of people justifying items in the stimulus bill by noting that they're pro-environment, pro-child develpment, pro-education expenditures. Saying they're worthy projects is not the same as saying they're worthy of a huge chunk of government cheese that doesn't exist right now, except in the Bank of China.

But as our country continues raping third-world countries for cheap resources to stay economically viable for the next several decades, at least we can rest assured that 5,000 Marlins fans will make it to the game on time.


So A-Rod Took Steroids....Who Cares!

Let's be honest with ourselves. When Sports Illustrated "broke" the Alex Rodriguez story over the weekend, were you surprised by the findings? Were you shocked that the guy who has been anointed as the heir to Barry Bonds "dirty" Home Run King title was caught juicing? Were you bewildered, as I was, when some jackass reporter asked President Obama his opinion about this fracas when Obama was "attempting" (and I use this word very loosely) to explain his economic stimulus plan?

Baseball is argued to be a sport about professionalism, dignity, and honor. So when baseball's most talented player tests positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs, many expect the story to send shock-waves across the planes of the sports world. And boy has it. Turn on the television and you will undoubtedly find this breaking news steroid "scandal" from ESPN all the way to the Food Network. But I am asking, what is the big deal. So, Alex Rodriguez took PED's. Why is everyone so shocked and appalled? I am asking all of you to come off your high and mighty throne and listen to some common sense for once.

Why do performance enhancing drugs have this stigma? Saintly critics commonly state that it corrupts the sanctity of a sport that is above all others (theoretically). When a star football tests positive, it is expected. But when a star baseball player does similarly, we need to string him up by his toes and hurl tomatoes. People, it's either one way or no way! PED's like Human Growth Hormone and EPO have long been used to maximize and elongate the quality of life of cancer patients , arthritic joints, and general surgical procedures. It is a new way of life. But by placing these unfounded stigmas upon drugs in general, we are basically hindering and slowing a scientific movement.

Why do individuals believe that professional sports will not be the same if performance enhancing drugs were legalized? In fact, I would argue it would be better than ever. If steroids were legal, it would legitimately level the playing field (which is the primary argument of denouncer's), it would increase the available research and then in turn would keep all players healthier not just for their playing careers, but into retirement. This would be especially important for football players who need to walk with a cane in their early forties.  I don't want to get into the economic benefit legalization would provide, less medicare costs, etc, but if legalization actually occurred, it would be a profound scientific movement for all walks of life. 

So Alex Rodriguez took steroids. Big Deal! Some people want to say that he cheated the sport and it's fans, but I say he was just ahead of the curve. Performance enhancing drugs will be legalized in sports at some point partly because testing in itself will always be two steps behind. Drug testing will never be able to catch up with the numerous drug cocktails that are constructed monthly. For those that want to preserve "legendary" records (which is humorous on another level), then level the playing field and allow everyone to use if they choose. Is there any difference between a "clean" pitcher and hitter squaring off and a "dirty" pitcher and hitter doing the same? Absolutely not! It is a new age people. This isn't the roaring twenties despite what some believe. It is time to roll with the tide and get aboard, or you might be looking at becoming an old, crotchety man who yearns for the good ole' times....just like the select few who believe football should still be played with leather helmets. 


Blatant violation of copyright law (I believe)

>> Monday

In the wake of A-Rod's public stoning, Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus--and not the dude I went to high school with (a clarification / running joke specificially directed to Paul)--wrote a fantastic commentary today called "Stupid Media Tricks."

Because I believe the article is only available to subscribers--which, if you aren't already, you really should pay the $4/month to subscribe since it's well worth it--I wanted to copy and paste a few snippets because the article has some fantastic observations.

For instance, there's this great bit of sarcasm:

This is a big story, in the sense that it involves a famous person, a bad act, and America's true favorite pastime of tearing down people of achievement. It allows the media to rend their garments over baseball's lack of purity on the issue of PEDs, substances which only began to affect the sport in the mid-1990s, which made a mockery of the record book all by themselves, and the rampant use of which makes baseball unique in American sports.


Some people continue to be surprised that highly competitive young men fighting for fame, honor, and a cut of $6 billion would do everything they could to beat the guy next to them, which is a pretty good way to make the Olympic team in Naive.

On the baseball media:

Take your pick: they missed the story, or they were too chicken-shit to report it. In either case, the piling-on now is disgusting. [...] I propose that for as long as a clearly qualified Hall of Famer remains on the ballot solely because of steroid allegations—or for that matter, proven use—there should be no J.G. Taylor Spink Award given out to writers. If we're going to allow failures during the "Steroid Era" to affect eligibility for honors, let's make sure we catch everyone who acted shamefully.
On the testing process:

The players agreed to be tested in 2003 on the condition that the testing be anonymous and no individual results would be tabulated. [...] For reasons that the MLBPA and the testers have yet to explain, the samples were labeled in a manner that allowed the results to be traced to individuals.
In summary:

In 2002, the players agreed to anonymous testing in an effort to eradicate a problem, part of a process that created the first CBA arrived at without a work stoppage in decades. This should have been an absolute good. Instead, because of a failure of the MLBPA to tend to details, an out-of-control investigation and prosecution led by an IRS agent, and the government's inability to protect the sanctity of information, 104 players will have their promised anonymity taken away with nothing given in return.

Even cheaters have rights to see their agreements honored, and these 104 men have been violated by their representatives and their government, complicit with a media that repeatedly asks the easy questions and takes on the soft targets while avoiding the real work of uncovering not just names, but truth. The story is bigger than Alex Rodriguez. It's more interesting than Alex Rodriguez. It has more depth and more nuance than the failure of one man to play by the rules.

Tell that story, in a measured voice that embraces complexity, and I'll listen. Until then, it's all just screaming.
If you can read the entire thing, please do. It's ex-cell-ent.


It's official: All MLB players from 1998-2007 banned from HOF

Well, that's it. A-Rod did steroids, and baseball is seriously f***ed. Should we institute a blanket banning of all the potential steroid users?

Honestly, I was a little surprised at first that A-Rod is guilty of steroid use. I always defended A-Rod as an upstanding guy and a baseball purist. Yet obviously, he's a competitor that made the same mistake as his peers, and he unfortunately and predictably bought into the pressure to perform at a beyond-human level. If A-Rod is guilty, I would not be surprised to find out that every single star of the Steroid Era had used steroids.

So what happens next? I think the baseball community really needs to use this moment to evaluate how it views the Steroid Era. Sure, we all know about the Barry Bonds saga, but that guy potentially perjured himself. He doesn't deserve to be inducted if he's guilty of a serious crime. However, I'd hate to see the same jerk-offs who are keeping Big Mac out of the HOF -- without credible evidence, mind you -- continually block A-Rod when he's ultimately eligible.

Which brings up another point...

Did A-Rod keep his name clean by admiting he did steroids? Sure, he kinda had to admit it after his name came out. Yet unlike some of the other steroid stars, he never lied about it. If we find out that McGwire, Sosa, and Clemens were all in fact proven users, then clearly they lied and don't deserve the honor of induction to the Hall. A-Rod's case is a little different, and I don't know how the baseball community will handle it come his HOF eligibility. My guess is that A-Rod put himself on the right side of a blurry gray line that separates the tarnished from the untarnished.

I still love A-Rod, even though he used the term "loosey-goosey" in his interview with Peter Gammons. I refuse to crucify him -- or any MLB star -- for taking steroids. He's still a HOFer and one of the best infielders of all time.


A Fade So Sweet It Makes You Want To Jam Out At A House Party

>> Sunday

Or House Party 2. Or 3. Any of them. Anyway, for no reason at all, here's Mike Tomlin's college ID photo, complete with Kid N' Play-style flat top fade. Breathtaking.

Photo jacked from Deadspin.


Is This Really A Good Idea?

>> Saturday

Just saw this story on Variety (via Deadspin) that director Steven Soderbdergh (director of the awesome and criminally underrated Traffic as well as other solid stuff like Ocean's 11) and Brad Pitt have announced plans to team up on a big screen adaptation of Michael Lewis' book Moneyball.

The book focuses on Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics who used a sophisticated computer analysis system to piece together a team that regularly contended for the World Series despite a payroll dramatically lower than such big-market rivals as the New York Yankees.

As someone with a (self-proclaimed) great deal of knowledge about both baseball and movies, I can't say this strikes me as the best idea for a movie. The book isn't really biographical, and the stories from Beane's past serves mostly as a justification for the overhaul of traditional scouting to incorporate elements of modern statistical analysis. Riveting stuff, really. Don't get me wrong, the book is excellent if you're at all interested in baseball and modern front office operations, but it seems like it would make a much more compelling documentary than feature film.

I can easily see Hollywood focus-grouping this movie into oblivion and attempting to shoehorn it into some sort of Beautiful Mind-style tale of genius unleashed. Having read the book, I can't honestly answer where the climax of the story is? Is it just the draft (off the top of my head, I think it's '03) where the A's ended up getting a bunch of guys they'd targeted? I can't really say, and I can't see that that would make for an exciting movie. Although, given Benjamin Button, I guess that a movie Brad Pitt doesn't need to have anything interesting in it to get made.


Some Actual Truths on D-Wade Divorce

>> Friday

A few weeks ago, we heard the allegations from Mrs. Wade about D-Wade's trevails. Well, at least some of them are total BS, as D-Wade's seed has not been contaminated by STD's. Now, I'm sure D-Wade enjoyed the fruits of his labors on South Beach, but I'm pretty sure that Siovaughn will not be challenging Mother Teresa for sainthood anytime soon either and I'd be very leery at taking most of her accusations at face value.


As Long As You've got that map out...

>> Thursday

Steve Davis on the near-certainty for the United States to host either the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cups, and assessing the viability of the other bids.

Davis thinks it is a slam dunk that England will host the 2018 World Cup, but then says of dark horse Qatar's bid...

"Qatar: The oil-rich Arab emirate has the world's highest GDP per capita, according to some estimates. Although money isn't an issue, physical size could be. Qatar occupies only about 4,400 square miles, roughly the size of Pennsylvania."

So if physical size is a major obstacle to hosting a World Cup, then we wouldn't want to have it in a country like...England, which is roughly the size of North Carolina, and only slightly larger than Pennsylvania.

If anything is going to kill the Qatari bid, it will be the average triple-digit temperatures that are routine in the Persian Gulf in June and July, when the World Cup is held.


St. Louis = Not in the Super Bowl

>> Sunday

Thank God this Super Bowl is over, if only to stop the constant reporting here in St. Louis (even in the with local reaction) as if this Super Bowl was one with "our team" because of the presence of the Cardinals and Kurt Warner.

Sweet. The team that St. Louisans wouldn't support, so they moved to arguably the worst sports market in the country to play in a college stadium over 20 years ago, and the Hall of Fame quarterback that got run out of town. Go St. Louis!

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