Monday, November 15, 2010

A real "funny" column!

Of all the columnists on all the web sites in all of sports commentary in all of the Internets of all the days I read instead of doing my job, Gregg Doyel is the worst. The worst ever. I live in a perpetual state of shock that he has a job writing national sports columns.

Commiserate with me.

Bengals' comedy tour reaches hilarious new low

For a column that has the words "comedy" and "hilarious" right in the headline, this is about to be a really smelly, awful, unfunny piece of shit.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Bengals told a few more jokes Sunday. They slipped on a few more banana peels. They're not any good, but by golly they're entertaining.

Isn't this a really strange team to be picking on? You've got a bunch of teams that were supposed to be at least decent this year but instead are awful, and you're going to pick on ... the Bengals? What did they do to you?

Gregg is also going to use a lot of "humor"-ish words to describe the Bengals, but really he's being sarcastic, because he hates the Bengals for some reason!!! I really don't get it. It's like if someone wrote a really acidic piece saying "The Mariners paid all that money for Erik Bedard, those FUCKING RETARDS!!!" Dude calm down, they're the Mariners.

Owner Mike Brown must love this team more than any he has ever had, because Brown clearly loves a good joke. He is, after all, the guy with the wacky idea of putting Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco on the same roster -- and leaving pushover Marvin Lewis in charge of that roster.

Words used so far:

Banana peels
Good joke

...I think I get it, man.

Also, Gregg is correct in assuming that the Bengals are the only team in the NFL that has players who have image problems, because you don't see guys like that on winners like the Ravens, or the Titans, or, Jesus Christ, the Eagles.


But really it's not hilarious. Clever turn of phrase (?).

The latest knee-slapper


was the Bengals' 23-17 loss Sunday at Indianapolis, where Cincinnati had three interceptions and two fumbles to lose to a watered-down, injured Colts team that mailed in the final three quarters and still won more convincingly than the six-point spread would suggest.

I get that the Colts have had injuries, but Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne still play for them, don't they? No? It was Curtis Painter throwing to three practice squad guys the whole game?

Here is also where Gregg begins a really puzzling charge that the Colts didn't play hard during the game, or something, which is complete bullshit, because ... are you serious?

Let's back up that wild claim with insane inaccuracies.

The Colts scored 17 points in the first 15½ minutes, then called off the dogs. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning stopped throwing the ball. The Colts' defense stopped blitzing. The Colts went from rainbow sherbet to vanilla, just like that, and it was enough to overwhelm the undeveloped palate of the silly Bengals.

If this was FJM -- which this isn't -- I'd be in food metaphors heaven right now.

But we've got something more important here: Gregg's assertion that "Colts quarterback Peyton Manning stopped throwing the ball" after the Colts scored their second touchdown, in the second quarter. From that point until the end of the third quarter (I'm not counting the fourth because the Colts ran the ball then like ANY team with a lead EVER would), here's your run-to-pass breakdown:

Passes: 23
Runs: 5

Really looks like Peyton stopped throwing, doesn't it?

And they're silly, all right. Harmless. Pathetic. The Bengals aren't going to beat many teams this season, but it's OK because they're just so darned cute.

Jesus dude, why do you hate the Bengals so much?

One of the most earnest, professional players in the locker room, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, met the media afterward and summed up the hopeless situation that faces a hapless team looking at six consecutive losses.

"The key," Whitworth said, "is getting guys to play with confidence -- even if we don't have anything to be confident about."

I wonder how Gregg will take this innocuous quote that anyone on a losing team ever could have said. Let's predict: Crazily.

Adorable. And true. The Bengals are entering Dave Shula territory, losing in new and ridiculous ways.

You know a team that's losing in new and ridiculous ways? The Lions. Have you seen them? They lose in the craziest ways ever this year and their numbers suggest they should be winning, unlike the Bengals, who are just sort of below-average and why are you writing this?

Quarterback Carson Palmer had two interceptions returned for touchdowns -- although the second pick-six, by Colts linebacker Tyjuan Hagler, was generously overturned by a replay review. The interception stood, but after further review Hagler was ruled down at the 10 yard line. By then the damage already had been done. The Bengals faced a 17-0 deficit early in large part because Palmer's passer rating after one quarter was 2.8. Even Rex Grossman thinks that's lousy.

Palmer had two picks returned for touchdowns, besides the one that wasn't because he was down, so it wasn't a touchdown at all, but I'm calling it one because I'm Gregg Doyel, goddamnit, and I have a point to make.

I really don't get what point this makes. Somehow the Bengals have invented a "new" way to lose in that they turned the ball over and their quarterback had a bad start.

It wasn't just Palmer, of course. Running back Cedric Benson, who had lost three fumbles in the previous four years, lost his third fumble of the season Sunday because of Colts linebacker Kavell Conner's back. Benson brushed against the No. 53 on Conner's jersey and the ball popped loose. Conner never saw what happened. Still, he was credited with a forced fumble.

So a guy who normally is good at not fumbling had a bad day, and also why the fuck are we spending this much energy on the fucking Cincinnati Bengals?

Maybe Gregg just lost a big bet on them and is venting or something.

But enough anecdotal humor. We should hand someone the microphone. Here, let's give it to Ochocinco, who played his heart out -- sincerely. Ochocinco made diving plays all over the field, leaped for passes over the middle without hesitation and even returned for the fourth quarter after landing on his shoulder earlier and leaving the game in obvious pain.

Ochocinco seems convinced the Bengals can salvage their season -- even at 2-7, last in the AFC North.

Unlike Carson Palmer, who said that the season is over and he doesn't plan on showing up to practice any more. Jonathan Joseph is already in the Bahamas!

"We'll get it figured out," he said.

Meanwhile, Jermaine Gresham said, "We'll never figure it out and the team is doomed forever." Added Pacman Jones, "This team sucks and I don't plan on winning any more.

Hahahaha. Oh, sorry. He's not done talking. He wants to tell us why the Bengals will get it figured out. We're all ears, Och'.

I want to Punch Gregg Doyel in the face. And please don't call him "Och'."

"We have enough leaders in this locker room," he said. "Myself, Terrell ..."

I don't know what goes on in the Bengals' locker room and I don't pretend to. But that's because I'm not a national columnist, who has every right to pretend he knows the inner dynamics of a football team:

Hysterical. A leader in the locker room, Ochocinco?


I mean, maybe, right? We don't really know what goes on after the press leaves, so we don't really have grounds to openly suggest that Chad is, you know, lying, or whatever. Or do we?

Terrell is Terrell Owens, who leads not with words but by example. For example, Owens alligator-armed one long pass, letting a potential 50-yard reception land at his feet because, I suppose, a man can get a rug burn sliding for a ball at his feet.

Actually, it seemed like he lost the ball in the sun because he had to stare back into that really randomly-placed window-thing at Lucas Oil. Or maybe it's because he didn't want to get rug burn (because T.O., a renowned sissy, never played a Super Bowl on a broken ankle or anything).

And for example, there was Palmer's third interception of the game, a poorly conceived pass over the middle, in the vicinity of Owens, that he let float past him and into the arms of Colts safety Aaron Francisco. Owens could have made an effort on the ball -- it didn't appear to be out of his reach -- but that would have meant getting hit. Terrell Owens is a leader, but let's not go overboard.

Yeah, he could have made a play on that. Which brings me to my next point, who the fuck cares?

Afterward, Palmer came as close as he ever will to calling out a teammate -- declining to attack or defend Owens' effort on the play, saying instead, "I'm going to have to look at it on film."

Because he should have said, "Yeah you pussy, catch the ball next time! I'm out here shotgunning balls right into your chest, it's time to catch one with your ovaries, you bitch!"

Oh wait, Carson Palmer is a professional and acted professionally.

Do us a favor, Carson, and make sure Marvin Lewis is watching the film too. Because Lewis said he had no issue with Owens' effort on the Francisco interception.

"I've not seen T.O. give up on any plays," Lewis said.

Yes, because a coach openly throwing one of his star players under the bus is good for team chemistry.

An NFL team run by Gregg Doyel would result in an 0-16 season and the murder of the head coach.

What about that 50-yarder earlier in the game, I asked Lewis? The one that fell at his feet? The one he didn't dive or slide or even lean over to try to catch?

The one he lost in the sun and couldn't see?

Lewis giggled at me. Told me, "You need a new line of questioning."

Referring to grown men as "adorable" and "giggling" is starting to get really fucking weird.

Me: "You mean, easier questions?"

Lewis: "Or someone smarter than me to answer them."

Honestly, I'm just shocked that Gregg was anywhere near the game and still had the brain injury bad enough to write this.

Not a bad idea, now that he mentions it. Someone, please show that quote to Mike Brown. But first, tell the Bengals' joke of an owner that the world isn't laughing with him.

Fire the coach!! Fire the owner! Cut the players! Tear down the walls!!! Kill everyone!!! Bomb Cincinatti!!! ALL MUST PAY!!!

We're laughing at him.

It's like that old saying -- I have to laugh [at the fact that Gregg Doyel gets paid to do this]. Or else I'd cry.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fans? What Fans?

If the seating capacity at Camden Yards is cut by 4% but no one ever attends any games, will anyone notice?

I stumbled across this article today that made me angry enough to remember my BWP password and make my first post in over a year. In case you are too lazy to click links, let me summarize the article for you:

The Baltimore Orioles are tired of the embarrassing sight of 48,290 empty seats during meaningless September baseball games so they decided to decrease the stadium seating capacity to 45,971.

They are disguising this move as a stadium upgrade, installing more spacious seating in the upper decks and club level. This, plus the addition of less intrusive railings, are supposed to improve the sight-lines and "fan experience" at Camden Yards.

I don't even know where to start with this.

First of all, I wish the Orioles would stop insulting the intelligence of their fans. We all know that the only thing that will improve the fan experience in Baltimore is winning. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark, with no obstructed view seats and cheap tickets. The stadium is not the problem with this team. Should money really be wasted on thinner railings and bigger seats when the O's can barely attract 15,000 fans a game?

Also, how sad is it that this team has fallen so far that seats actually have to be removed from the stadium? I remember in the 90's when the team was regularly competitive, they had to add seats and the standing room only section was frequently sold out.

The city of Baltimore is a passionate sports town. The Ravens attract 70,000+ fans every home game and they have sold out each and every game since they have come to town. The Orioles need to prove to their fans that they are dedicated to winning; an impact free agent signing or a big trade. Until then, no stadium "improvements" or other stupid ideas will attract any fans.

I hope, one day, when there are not enough tickets to meet the heavy demand for a big home playoff game, the Orioles regret getting rid of those seats. But, judging by the general ineptitude of the franchise over the past 15 years, I fear that day may never come.

40 Wrong Opinions

On a blog that was better than this, this type of article was called "bait."

As in, Jon Heyman is baiting meta-critical-sports-journo-parents'-basement bloggers into making fun of him on their meta-critical-sports-journo-partens'-basement blogs.

Consider me bated. Jon Heyman, you are the master of baiting.

Potential free-agent busts (Pavano, Wood) and bargains (Garland, Lee)

It's funny to call Carl Pavano and Kerry Wood "potential" busts. The Giants were this year's "potential" champion.

No teams want to make a mistake in free agency, as a bad contract can hamper a franchise for years (although the world champion Giants overcame bad deals for Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand). Nobody wants to add the wrong person to their clubhouse, either. Here's a list of 10 free agents to be avoided, or at least be very wary of.

A bad contract will ruin your franchise except if you're the team that just won the World Series with two awful contracts on a $150 million payroll. Let's get the self-contradictory statements out of the way right off the bat, we have a huge undertaking from Jon Heyman: 10 busts, 30 bargains. That's a potential for 40 wrong opinions! Play along!*

*Don't play along, go outside and enjoy the day or something.

1. Carl Pavano. He was said to be fine in the Twins clubhouse, but it's risky business dealing with someone who has been self-centered elsewhere (some Yankees people were amazed at how little he tried after getting a $39.95 million contract from them). Should stay in Minnesota, where he has thrived.

It's hard to really know what any of these guys are going to command on the open market, but Pavano had a pretty good season (111 ERA+) this year for $7 million, which sounds fine to me. He self-centered 221 innings, too, and didn't-try 117 strikeouts to 37 walks. I will lazily refer to this opinion as: wrong.

Heyman batting average: .000 (0/1)

2. Jorge de la Rosa. Talented pitcher is only 29. But he's apparently seeking a five-year deal. His numbers might justify it, but he has been inconsistent. Some see another Oliver Perez waiting to happen. He was a 16-game winner two years ago and averages eight strikeouts every nine innings over his career. His WHIP has improved in each of the last three seasons (to 1.315 this past season), but only once has he won more than 10 games. He'll be enticing in a very weak free-agent market, but there's a reason why the Rockies didn't want to go more than two years (for around $15 million total).

Obviously let's go ahead and say: Wins are worthless unless he's taking the 2009 Rockies with him wherever he's going (not likely) and a time machine back to 2009, where the 2009 Rockies will assist him in getting to 16 "Wins," in which case, he will be worth 16 "Wins."

de la Rosa is a questionable guy because he has a career 1.5 WHIP, which is fucking awful. Not because he hasn't been able to get to 10 wins that often, which is an arbitrary cutoff for an arbitrary statistic. This is double arbitrary and it doesn't cancel itself out so I vote Heyman loses.

Heyman batting average: .000 (0/2)

3. Mike Hampton. The Rockies once made a $120 million mistake with him. Signing him now -- at any price -- would be an error.

Somehow the fact that he once signed a bad contract a long time ago makes a difference now. Because the MoonBlork Blork City Sluggers were THIS CLOSE to signing Mike Hampton 2010, age 38, for $120 million.

I bet Mike Hampton would be a nice signing for $1. I would hire him for $1 just to hang out with me and play catch.

Heyman batting average: .000 (0/3)

4. Nick Johnson. An injury waiting to happen. Has good numbers (.401 lifetime on-base percentage), so undoubtedly he'll fool someone.

He's a good baseball player so he'll "fool someone" into signing him to play baseball. What a clever ruse pulled off again by that old rapscallion, The Amazing Injured Johnson (Wait, That Sounds Wrong!)!

5. Jose Guillen. On top of the fact that he's a nightmare in the clubhouse, he's got an HGH investigation to worry about now.

I doubt anyone will give him the $12 million he got this year, but whatever, fine. This is the first one I'll give Heyman (.200, fitting that he's at the Mendoza line for journalism). What's most troubling is that he's assigning value to being a "clubhouse" guy, which is going to be really, really dangerous, because that means we're going to have to deal with things like "Don't sign Adam Dunn, he's a bad clubhouse guy!" or, God forbid, an Eckstein sighting.

6. Felipe Lopez. Be forewarned about guys released by teams still contending, as Lopez was last year by the Cardinals.

I mean he made $1 million this year and was an above-average hitter as a second-baseman as recently as 2009. But be wary, all ye who pay .05% of their money for a man abandoned by los Cardinales Muertes! Old pirate tales said that this man would bring the BLACK DEATH!

7. J.C. Romero. Be skeptical when guys with failed steroid tests have down years.

Romero's lines were actually pretty much in concert with a lot of previous years. He seems more like a middle reliever that's not worth >$4 million than a guy who owed all his success to performance enhancers. Half point. 1 1/2 out of 7.

8. Pat Burrell. He helped the Giants tremendously in the regular season but looked lost in the World Series.


That's a small sample size,

Yeah, right? So please rescind your statement just now and find another wrong statement to make. No? Okay.

but no one should be fooled by a good regular season to match his $8 million salary.

What the hell? "Sure, he played great for six months, but he played bad for one month after that! Don't be fooled!"

9. Kerry Wood. Great talent was very good with the Yankees (0.69 ERA), but this is a case of buyer beware; someone's going to think he's sound again and then possibly be disappointed.

Someone's going to think that Kerry Wood isn't injury prone. And that person is: Fucking nobody ever ever ever.

10. Miguel Tejada. Did fine with the Padres, but he's another guy losing his power (.381 slugging percentage this year).

Or that he's getting old. But of course, baseball GMs have no idea how old their players are, they just look at SLG and throw money accordingly. Funny story: Andy MacPhail pays his players expecting them to get younger and the crazy thing is that the bastard's normally right!! How's he do it? I don't know.

Top free-agent bargains

Your score for the 10 "busts": 1 and a half out of 10 for a batting average of .150. We're going to have to turn this around with some strong analysis on ... oh, you're leading with Jon Garland? Shut it down, guys.

1. Jon Garland. He has signed two straight one-year deals but turned down his $6 million player option with the Padres and should do better this time around. A consistent innings-eater and performer, he won 18 games in two straight years under pitching coach Don Cooper's tutelage in Chicago. He may not blow away scouts with his radar readings or stuff, but he's having a very nice career.

Obviously wins are worthless but here we've cherry-picked two seasons here that aren't even relevant: four and five years ago. 2005 and 2006! What gives, man? Miguel Tejada was 15th in the MVP ballot in 2005 and he's a bust. In 2005 I was in high school. This is to say: That was a long fucking time ago.

Also, "he may not be good, but somehow he's having a nice career! Pay the man!" Zero points.

2. Joaquin Benoit. Had a superb year with the Rays but has barely been mentioned as a free agent with Tampa expected to lose Crawford, Soriano and maybe Carlos Pena. Had great numbers (1.34 ERA, 0.68 WHIP) after being picked up by Tampa Bay's very smart front office.

Of course, he's another $4 million middle reliever, but I guess that's a bargain now. Also, yeah, he had great numbers for Tampa, but the rest of his career in Texas doesn't count, when he was mostly a bit below average?

3. Orlando Hudson. He has signed a late one-year deal two straight winters after out-pricing himself with the Diamondbacks a few years back, but he can hit and run, and he brings a nice spirit to the clubhouse. The Mets could use a second baseman for the third straight winter, and with Luis Castillo seeming to be a candidate for release, maybe Hudson will finally wind up in New York.

Okay, Heyman, you're scaring me with this clubhouse stuff. I could have sworn I smelled a David Eckstein sighting just now, too. Please stop. You're scaring the children.

Also, this is stupid, as O-Dog is decent at hitting and can't run worth a lick (career high SB: 10).

4. Derrek Lee. He was once a big star, and at 35 he's not so old that he can't recover from a weak 2010 performance (career-low .774 OPS). He did rally once he got out of Chicago and played decently for the Braves. He's also an excellent defender at first for a right-handed thrower. Maybe a fallback for Washington if Carlos Pena falls through?

"Bargain" Derrek Lee made $13 million last year, which is a shit ton of money for anybody. Also, the blindly made argument that Lee will be able to rebound because "he's not so old" is stupid.

5. Hideki Matsui. Not sure how under-the-radar the 2009 World Series MVP can ever be, but while he didn't have the best of seasons in Anaheim, he still has tremendous drive (word is, he made it a goal to hit higher than Derek Jeter, and he did beat Jeter, .274 to .270). Also quietly hit 21 home runs with 84 RBIs. Would never bet against him.

World Series MVPs are the 177th most telling thing about a player's talents, directly after Gold Gloves and right before eye color.

Also, congrats to Hideki Matsui, who made it his goal to outhit Derek Jeter and beat him, .Medicore to .Slightly More Mediocre! We were all pulling for you buddy!

6. Jim Thome. He turned out to be one of the biggest bargains last year when he signed with Minnesota for $1.5 million and saved them after Justin Morneau went down with a concussion, hitting 25 home runs in 340 at-bats. He probably solidified his Hall of Fame candidacy with his 2010 season, and the big fellow appears to still have something left in him.

Hey, this one seems pretty legit! 2.5/16 (.157)

7. Juan Uribe. The 2010 postseason hero seems to have a knack for the big hit. Still looks pretty solid at shortstop and third base, as well.

I swear to WAR (which is the God I choose to worship), why does everyone call Juan Uribe a solid defensive player? I don't get it.


... Wait.

It can't be.

8. David Eckstein. A two-time World Series champ, this all-time scrapper is a big plus for any clubhouse.


You know who else is a two-time World Series champ? Ricky Ledee. Ricky Fucking Ledee has two rings, did you know that? Being on a World Series team, most of the time, is the product of luck.

Actually, it's luck ALL OF THE TIME, because if it wasn't, the Cardinals will win the World Series every year because Albert Pujols is the best player, and they would have gone 162-0 when they had him and Eckstein since Eckstein is the scrappiest underdog grit gamer winner of all time.

9. Scott Downs. The Blue Jays held on to the lefty at the trade deadline after failing to receive the haul they sought. The Giants showed what a strong bullpen means (and nobody else has starting pitching like the Giants). Dominant vs. lefties, who hit .152 against him last year.

The infamous LOOGY, Downs pulled a cool $4 million this year. Which makes him a bargain for teams that can afford to spend more than that for a guy to come in and get one out some of the time.

10. Adam LaRoche. He must regret turning down a big offer last winter from the Giants to sign with the Diamondbacks, who discarded him after a change in their hierarchy following a decent year. He's a great second-half player, and his overall numbers (25 home runs, 100 RBIs, .261) weren't too bad, either.

Whatever. 3.5/20 (.175 -- Watch out Mendoza!)

11. Kevin Gregg. Solid closer could also work as a setup man for a contender. Bounced back from rough year with Cubs to save 37 games in Toronto last year.

I'll pass on a 35 year old closer who's going to want $4 million for a K:BB of less than 2:1. This comment wasn't funny. If I was Matt Berry, I'd say something about how he has two first names, which is HILARIOUS, but I'm not, so I'll say that his last name is the same as the worst columnist of all time, Gregg Doyel, who is worse than Jon Heyman, which means: nothing so 10,000 points for me and let's all go get drunk!

12. John Buck. A lot of Toronto hitters had big years in 2010, but in a weak catching market Buck and A.J. Pierzynski stand out.

Holy crap, we're not even halfway through the bargains so let's speed this up.

Pierzynski is terrible, has been since 2004, and if he commands anywhere near the ~$7 million he got this year I might cry.

13. Pedro Feliciano. Ironman reliever is very tough on left-handers (lefty batters have hit .214 against him in his career).

Another LOOGY, feel the excitement!

14. Orlando Cabrera. Productive shortstop is a feisty competitor who will want to come back with a big year after his rival Edgar Renteria was a World Series hero.

You'd better pay up for Cabrera, cause a guy who he doesn't like just played well! BASEBALL.

15. Ty Wigginton. Versatile player showed some pop (22 homers) for the Orioles last year.


16. Jason Frasor. The Jays had a lot of good arms in their pen, and this is yet another.

"The Jays have pitchers. He is one of them."

17. Andruw Jones. He showed signs of continuing to regain his hitting form with the White Sox, but was hurt by a glut of hitters after Manny Ramirez was acquired.


18. Lance Berkman. He has been overpaid the past few years but could be a bargain after a so-so season. Showed strong signs after returning from injury with the Yankees.

Randomly assumes that Puma will take considerably less money than the $15 million he earned this year during what was either a "so-so" or "strong" season, according to the contradictory sentence Jon Heyman just wrote.

19. Bill Hall. Has versatility and power (18 homers last year). Boston seems to want him back after he became a bigger player than they wanted following their injury-riddled year.

Sorry Jon, I just had a minor brain aneurysm and thought you said that $9 million of Bill Hall is a "bargain."

20. Jeff Francis. Ultra-smart former ace was still working his way back last year (4-6, 5.00) from shoulder issues.

I like how for his "busts," you should be wary because of their injuries, but when his "bargains" have had injury problems, that somehow makes them even more of bargains.

21. Jose Contreras. Seems to have found a home as a reliever in the National League. Very effective for both the Rockies and Phillies (6-4, 3.34) in relief roles after previously starring for the White Sox.

Fine. Now it's time to play "Bust or Bargain!" I give you a generic explanation from Jon Heyman and you guess if it goes to someone he labels a "bust" or a "bargain"!

Here's your hint: Born a year off from 1980, Heyman calls this player "talented" but "inconsistent!"

If you guessed "Bust" Jorge de la Rosa, you were correct!

Wait, you guessed "Bargain" Rick Ankiel?

22. Rick Ankiel. Has the skills to be a star, but poor 2010 numbers (.232 batting average) should keep the price down.

Also correct! Good job! And for the record, Ankiel is two years older than de la Rosa.

23. Edgar Renteria. His $18.5 million, two-year deal looked like a miracle for agents Barry Meister and Jeff Lane, but Renteria was the biggest surprise World Series MVP ever. Will never get that kind of loot despite his incredible week.

Edgar Renteria, as I will go into painstaking detail about tomorrow, is not very good, despite the World Series MVP that will guarantee him to be granted heaps and heaps of undue praise.

24. Xavier Nady. The solid hitter gained more playing time once Mike Quade came aboard for the Cubs, but was limited by a crowded outfield. He's a year removed from his second elbow surgery, so perhaps he'll show improvement in 2011 after batting an uncharacteristic .256 this past season. He could always hit.

"He could always hit except all the time this past season but pay him!"

25. Javier Vazquez. He'll get back to business about finding a National League team.

"Back to business" is Heyman-speak for "He's not very good so don't make him face good players." This "bargain" has been making $11 million-plus in each of the past six seasons.

26. Eric Hinske. He seems to be a good-luck charm, making the World Series with Boston, Tampa Bay and the Yankees before only reaching the first round last year with the Braves. He's a clutch hitter and a team player who would have had a big game-winner against the eventual champion Giants if not for poor Brooks Conrad and his fielding foibles.

Hey, baseball fans! You know how you sit in a cubicle all day to make a decent paycheck, most of which goes to taxes and bills? You know the few dollars you scrape together to go see your favorite sports team play? Well, a man who is one of the most famous and top-paid analysts about that sport just suggested that it would be a "bargain" for a team to spend $1 million-plus for a "good luck charm." Sleep easy tonight!

27. Jeff Weaver. He was all-overpaid for years, but the Dodgers keep getting him on very reasonable deals lately, considering his productivity. Probably has so much money socked away that he's just happy to play at home (he's from Simi Valley, Calif.).

Weaver isn't good. He also gave up 30 ER in 44.1 innings this past season, which is nightmarish.

28. Yorvit Torrealba. After turning down a $5 million, two-year deal with the Rockies, he aided the Padres' cause at a much lower rate. Solid player who seems underrated.

Starting to think this list shouldn't have been 30 players long.

29. Gabe Kapler. Solid fifth outfielder keeps coming back for more after previously retiring.

Now REALLY thinking this list shouldn't have been 30 players long.

30. Craig Counsell. Has been a contributor to two World Series winners. Good team man and backup somehow finagled $2 million from the Brewers last year, but that seems unlikely again.

"Good team man" ... "contributor" ... "backup."

This column didn't end -- it was at this point that they did the honorable thing: Taking it out back and shooting it in the head.

Also the final count of wrong opinions is: Who cares? Just be glad it's over.

Monday, November 8, 2010

This isn't fair

Because Doug Glanville isn't a classically-trained sportswriter like the other bad analysts I make fun of in my ongoing attempt to interest myself by pretending to be FJM. Instead, he's part of ESPN's stable of former players brought on to give insight about the sport they played, further proving that you don't have to know shit about a sport to be great at it.

On the other hand, who cares?

A new world open to Barry Bonds

With Giants as champs, slugger has new chance to move from villain to ambassador

Barry, of course, doesn't play baseball any more, is 46 years old, was really good at baseball, injected himself with a bunch of steroids, lied about it, ruined his team, etc etc, he's an asshole.

But Doug Glanville will now show how Bonds can piggyback on the success of a team he used to play for and make everyone forget that he's the preeminent roided-up asshole of his sport.

Mr. Glanville, I am skeptical.

The San Francisco Giants are champions and the city certainly waited long enough. Since I spend the majority of my time in Chicago, and as a former Chicago Cub, San Fran didn't really wait that long, come to think of it.

They waited forever! Wait, no they didn't! Strong opening.

During that wait, the city saw its share of controversies and tensions. Being part of the baseball exodus from New York left a few sore spots in New York fandom, but for the most part, that hatchet is buried, even if not so much for the Dodgers. But the Giants did help pry open the door for the expanding influence of baseball, landing almost as far as possible from their native New York.

This is gobbledeegook, right? "While they waited for a championship, New York fans were upset because they left, but not any more, and they helped the influence of baseball." This would be a circular argument if it, you know, was an argument and not what it is, which is, nonsense.

In watching their World Series championship march, I found it interesting to note the ever-moving shadow of Barry Bonds, the man who may be their most iconic figure of controversy and tension. Bonds was visibly supportive of his former team. He came out to cheers before Game 3 of the NLCS against the defending NL champion Phillies at AT&T Park, and he showed that he does still have some love in San Francisco, despite the cloud over his statistically illustrious career.

He did steroids.

Also, why does he get points for being "visibly supportive" of the Giants? You know, Hitler was a bad guy, but he was so supportive of the Germans at the Olympics, you really have to give it up, for him, don't you?

But the assessment of his career on the larger stage of baseball's legacy does not stand up and applaud so readily. He had a record-breaking career, surpassing Hank Aaron in career home runs and smashing the single-season record in 2001. Most of his next moves have revolved around a reactive game of defense. Denial, inquisition, question marks, asterisks.

Let's play a game called: Beat Around The Bush! Here's how you play.

1. Take the face of the Steroid Era in baseball.
2. Try not to mention he did steroids.

Doug Glanville is winning right now with 14 points. He got 4 just now, one each for "Denial," "inquisition," "question marks, and "asterisks," and a perfect 10/10 for referring to "the cloud over his statistically illustrious career." Congrats, Doug!

In breaking one of the near-impossible baseball records, he had no ambassadorship to develop, no time to provide perspective, no opportunity to heal through his accomplishment. When Muhammad Ali became king of his sport, he traveled, he broke down doors. He also had many on the world stage welcoming him even amidst his controversies. And his controversies carried tremendous weight, involving religion, war, politics and race. But he moved people.

You know who else was controversial? Gandhi. Nelson Mandela. Cher. Not so quick to hate Bonds now that you know what sort of company he totally keeps through something that isn't a giant hole in logic, now are you?

Even when Riddick Bowe became a boxing champion, he tried to do the same. He toured the world, attempting to open doors and be a diplomat of humanity, but it fell a little flat. Maybe that was just a function of the charisma of a man, or maybe it was inherent in how people perceived the achievement itself.

In related news, I just woke up from a 10-year coma and the first thing I found out was that Barry Bonds is like Riddick Bowe because both "attempted to ... be a diplomat of humanity." After decoding this because it's not anywhere close to sufficient grammar usage, I then slipped into another coma. Seeya!

Nevertheless, on paper, Bonds has tremendous entrée to have an Ali-like door open to him. Endless talents, coming from a baseball family, record-breaking abilities, a brilliant mind for all things Major League Baseball. Yet, with all these factors, at no time since his record-setting season could he spend time beyond what was required for his own defense. His methods of achieving those records were in question, the wounds of his father's frustrations were still tangible and bleeding, he did not have catchy rhymes or a consistent message and approach to provide ... other than to dip and dive.

Ali, of course, was at the top of his game when he made those controversial stances about war and religion and race, which made him awesome because he rose above the WHY THE FUCK ARE WE COMPARING ASSHOLE BARRY BONDS TO MUHAMMAD ALI THIS IS FUCKING STUPID.

That is what can happen when you don't think about what something means beyond the numbers before you surpass it. You end up seeing it only through your personal lens. Then you have to make up the rules as you go, spend time on the short-sighted initiatives like clearing your name, instead of seeing the golden opportunity to connect with people and fans who long to witness history or watch history be rewritten.

So Barry Bonds can restore his image by: Going back in time to when he set those records and being more Ali-ish about it. Simple fix!

Also he scores a couple more Beat Around The Bush points, I think, by referring to Barry's steroid use as not "think[ing] about what something means beyond the numbers before you surpass it," which I can't commit to because it's so vague and abstract that I only think he's talking about steroids. Which is either no points, or the most points ever, because that's amazing.

But there is no rule as to how you are supposed to embrace the game and its history. We all come from somewhere and have our perspectives. Just as when I played in Philadelphia, Scott Rolen had no interest in being front and center, whereas Jimmy Rollins thrived at being front and center. Different players, different experiences.

Doug is right that there are no rules about embracing the game. However, he doesn't mention the "rule" about how you can't use steroids. This rule is called "the law."

Also, we're through 609 words in this story and not one of them has been "steroid." It's a story about Barry Bonds. It has to be getting closer.

Yet I was hopeful, as we all are, about who can come along to take the game to the next level, who can create a new legacy for the game and how they might do it.

And we don't want them to cheat. And do steroids.

Even with those hopes, baseball is a game we don't want to change so much all at once. We want to still recognize it after records have been shattered.


We want to have time to frame it in the proper context compared to what happened before.

If I was an FJM writer, which I am not, and will never be, I would go off on a tangent about OPS+ here. But that's neither here nor there. STEROIDS.

Just as so many steroid-induced players became unrecognizable in their physical attributes, so too did the statistics they suddenly could produce. As a result, the game underwent reasonable suspicion and no one could say for sure what new path the game was on.

God, thank you. It only took you >600 words to actually mention the reason Barry Bonds has an image problem, which is: He cheated, a fucking lot, he lied about it, he is/was an asshole, he broke the most hallowed record in baseball which was held by the nicest man who ever lived who had to do it when a ton of people still hated him just for the color of his skin, and then Bonds was just a general d-bag to you know EVERYONE FOREVER so he has a slight image problem.

But please, go on about how he can somehow fix his image problem by being a "diplomat for humanity."

But the time is ripe for a metamorphosis. Bonds performed for a city that is now a champion.

This is the most flawed logic of all time. "The Unabomber was from Atlanta. Atlanta won the World Series in 1995. Free the Unabomber!"

A place that can now open doors to new markets and new possibilities for this franchise and the game. Few have captured the minds, opinions and emotions of so many fans during his tenure as did Barry Bonds.

Negatively. He captured the "minds, opinions and emotions" of people who fucking hated him for destroying the game of baseball.

That type of impact could be channeled to bring to the forefront issues beyond the drug culture in sport or the waiting game within legal wrangling; it could transform a nation of fans in the spirit of its other trailblazers.

Little known fact: in the 1800s, a man named John Chapman was the biggest purveyor of apples and apple products in America. However, a great controversy arose when it turned out Chapman was putting harmful, illegal chemicals in his apples to make them grow big and delicious, and killed tons of people who loved apples, thus killing the American apple industry. Everyone hated Chapman for ruining apples for them, and he became a social pariah.

Fast forward to 1850, and Chapman decided to "channel his impact" on apples, to issues "beyond" how much he had poisoned apples for everyone, and through this nonsense wordage somehow he became -- you guessed it -- Johnny Appleseed.

The proof is in the pudding. Apple pudding.

Maybe it is too soon to know or understand Barry Bonds and what he or his work will mean to the game.

Maybe it is too soon to know or understand Barry Bonds.

He is 46.
He is three years out of baseball.
He... I... are you fucking serious?

The game may take the lessons from his career and apply it in its own way, see it as turning the page toward a cleaner game, a game of integrity, a renewal in a game that can still excite without patronizing superhumans on the diamond. He may not have intended it, but the game may put more emphasis on what transpires beyond the numbers, and that may well be his legacy.

Lesson: Don't be an asshole that does steroids.
Legacy: An asshole that did steroids.

Bonds still has an opportunity; the game is resilient, even forgiving, despite so many unwritten rules and biases. Maybe he will reach out and work for the greater game and start a new legacy. He just has to step beyond the small space of his personal batter's box.

...and into a time machine, back 10-15-20 years, and not do steroids, and then he'd just be an asshole.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Even Associated Press writers occasionally suck at their jobs

This will be the first of many times I try and fail to be as funny as Rob. Not all of my columns will be FJM-inspired, I will also talk about my favorite white basketball players, football players I hate, and why I have a man-crush on Zdeno Chara.

I truly do feel for writers for the Associated Press. But the job they have to do when a team wins a World Series is pretty damn brutal.

Most of the simple details and facts are written long before the game is over. But when it is over, and everyone on the field is one giant, joyous, dirty, sweaty mess, the writer has to chase around a bunch of players more concerned with "raging" than talking to the media.

Then they are supposed to crawl into any old nook or cranny with decent WiFi, fill in the quote holes, send it off to their editor, breath deeply, and probably get shitfaced at the nearest bar.

There is no doubt their job can get monotonous, but that is their job.

Occasionally, they suck at it.

Say Hey. Say World Series champions.

This sounds like one of those cheap t-shirts my Mom might buy so she can pretend like she has been rooting for the Giants the whole time.

She would say to me, "Willie Mays was known as 'The Say Hey Kid', and the team he used to play for just won the World Series. Isn't this a great t-shirt!"

I would be shaking my head in disgust, but this AP writer would bust through my front door (probably your average shoulder charge) calmly walk into the kitchen, shake my mother's hand, and leave.

The prize that eluded Willie and Barry for so long finally belongs to the San Francisco Giants, thanks to a band of self-described castoffs and misfits and their shaggy-haired ace.

It happens every year. The baseball playoffs roll around, and each team has the player who was released (Freddy Sanchez), the young superstar who is marketable and lovable (Tim Lincecum), and one batshit crazy player who everyone rallies around (Brian Wilson).

When they won the title in 2004, the Red Sox called themselves "The Idiots".

I am not saying it isn't an accurate statement, and I just imagining the AP writer thinking that he is waxing poetic, when really he is just regurgitating an incredible overplayed cliche.

"This buried a lot of bones -- '62, '89, 2002," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said, ticking off losing Series appearances. "This group deserved it, faithful from the beginning. We're proud and humbled by the achievement."

Forget whatever the hell Tony Soprano thinks he is talking about in the first half of this quote.

How do the Giants possibly deserve the World Series more than, say, the Texas Rangers?

Oh wait! I forgot! The Giants never cheated on Sabean.

Maybe they like their teammates, the city, the management.

More likely is that they were already described as a bunch of castoffs who the Giants took off the scrap heap to salvage bolster their anemic offense.

Did Colby Lewis dress in disguise and pitch for the Rays at some point during this season and only this AP writer caught it?

Maybe our intrepid reporter did an investigative piece about the secret love affair Elvis Andrus is having with Don Zimmer.

This is almost as dumb as thanking God for helping them achieve success....almost.

Lincecum won this game of Texas Hold 'em, beating Lee for the second time in a week. He gave up three hits over eight innings and struck out 10.

Mike: Correct me if I am wrong Norman Mailer, er Mr. AP writer, but isn't Texas Hold'em is a type of poker? I never saw Lincecum bluff Cliff Lee out of the pot when he only had a low pair, or catch a king on the river to make a straight.

Mr. AP writer: Well Mike, this is what we in the business call a turn of phrase. See the game was played in Texas, and Lincecum pitched really well and so obviously......

Mike: Oops! Can you hold on just one second?

(Goes into the garage, closing the door, turns on the car, puts in Pearl Jam's critically acclaimed "Ten", and waits for death to come.)

The two-time NL Cy Young winner arrived at Rangers Ballpark wearing a bow tie, as if he was going to a party. He had one on the mound, for sure.

This writer isn't done though.

He will see your shitty turn of phrase and will raise you an even shittier turn of phrase about how Lincecum's excellent pitching performance was equivalent to a party.

Also, in what alternate world does this writer live in where people wear bowties to parties?

My high school guidance counselor wore a bowtie, and I promise you, that guy did not party. If I saw a guy wearing a bowtie at a party, I would point and laugh at him.

"All the experts out there picked us last," Huff said. Normally rough and tough, he teared up.

Maybe I am wrong and Aubrey Huff lays out every magazine and preseason power rankings before the season starts and memorizes them. But if he does have one publication where the Giants were picked to finish last, I will apologize to Huff, and kill the writer who did that.

San Francisco won 88 games last year, the most for a team that missed the playoffs. They also returned one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball, upgraded their offense slightly, and had two all-world prospects (Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner) waiting in the wings.

Also have you seen the division they play in? Most of those teams would have trouble scoring ten runs if they got to hit off a tee.

Oh yeah, and the PECOTA supercomputer picked the Giants to win the division with a 91-71 record. They finished 92-70.

Thanks for doing your homework Aubrey Huff, and thanks to the writer for including this clearly misguided quote.

I will spare you from a long rant about how "rough and tough" Aubrey Huff is.

Just know that he once fell on his skateboard, scraped his arm, and didn't even cry.

Tough bastard...

Manager Bruce Bochy enjoys calling his Giants a ragtag bunch.

In other news, the Giants, many of whom are blessed with extraordinary baseball ability, really hate when Bruce Bochy calls them a ragtag bunch.

Let's skip a few grafs to one of my favorite parts. Yes, the Barry Bonds official "statement".

"There is no city that deserves this championship more," Bonds said in a statement. "I grew up watching my dad and godfather as Giants, lived out my dream playing in the same uniform in front of the best fans in the world and I just witnessed the Giants winning the World Series. I am ecstatic for the team, the city and all the fans -- you truly deserve it."

Screw this! If I was a member of the Giants I would pissed that the members of the media have been paying any attention to Bonds at all. He's not on the team, he didn't have any influence over the team's success.

And, forgive me for saying this, but what in the name of Juan Marichal's butthole does Bonds' 15 years of service have to do with the World Series.

Bobby Doerr spent all 15 of his seasons with the Red Sox, but they never asked him what he thought when Boston won the World Series.

And Doerr didn't even cheat the game or get indicted lying under oath.

A team seemingly free of egos did everything right to take the lead. Ross, the surprising MVP of the NL Championship Series, stayed square and hit a leadoff single and Juan Uribe followed with another hit up the middle.

That put a runner at second base for the first time in the game and brought up Huff, who led the Giants in home runs this year. So what did he do?

Hit a home run? Oh god please tell me he hit a home run!

He expertly put down the first sacrifice bunt of his career.

Oh how I over-estimated you Bruce Bochy. Maybe you are one of those nice guys that all the players love, and maybe you are good at managing a ragtag group of long-haired freaks, but bunting with your best hitter, with nobody out, and a runner ALREADY IN SCORING POSITION, was colossally retarded.

Also it was Huff's first CAREER sacrifice. To me that screams AUBREY HUFF IS NOT GOOD AT BUNTING!!!!

I get that in a pitcher's duel you want to scrape together any runs you can get. But if you wanted to play the odds, I would argue that you give Huff, who hit .290/.385/.506 during the regular season, a chance to swing the bat before you let Pat Burrell (six postseason hits in 45 at-bats) or Edgar Renteria, a sub-.750 OPSer during the regular season, do it.

Luckily for Bochy, Renteria hit an improbable home run.

Which saved his manager from answering questions about his stupidity, also reinforced how stupid it was to bunt a runner already in scoring over to third with your best power hitter.

Speaking of power hitters...

Bonds, Mays and several other former San Francisco stars are still a part of the Giants family.

Bonds got a hallowed home-run record, but questions persist about alleged steroids use. He visited the Giants clubhouse during the Series and got a big hand from fans when he took his seat at AT&T Park.

Yessssssss!!!!!!! Everybody's favorite cheating, anti-social, douchebag teammate is back!!!! He even visited the Giants' clubhouse during the Series, because we all know former players never do that!!

Now for the paragraph about one of baseball's other best players and classiest ambassadors -- Willie Mays.

His godfather, the 79-year-old Mays, was supposed to throw out the ceremonial first ball but the Say Hey Kid was absent because of illness.

Yup, the Giants' most famous player, the same one this writer chose to play off when he wrote his lede, got the royal "he is old, sick, and decrepit" treatment from this story. The next paragraph talked about his famous catch, but first the writer decided to make it clear that the 79-year old is sick.

Also this sentence has nothing to do with anything.

Shoot me in the face!

They moved West in 1958 and had tried ever since to escape a sort of big league Alcatraz -- the place where teams get stuck for decades as also-rans. The Red Sox and White Sox got free, not so the Cubs and Indians.

Wait, there is a big league Alcatraz? That was my favorite part of San Francisco when I visited. Do you think the big league Alcatraz offers audio tours where they show Steve Bartman screwing the Cubs, or Troy O'Leary screwing the Indians?

I would visit.

So clang the cable car bells. Loudly, too. Baseball's best play by the Bay.

San Francisco has cable cars, other cities do not.

Also, Baseball's best play by the Bay? I assume he means "Baseball's best, play by the Bay".

Or he could have just crafted a really shitty sentence with no meaning whatsoever.

I am not the AP writer, so I don't know.

Exactly when these Giants turned into world beaters is hard to say. Trailing San Diego by 7½ games in the NL West on July 4, they meandered in the wild-card race until the stretch run, winning the division and finishing 92-70.

It's not really that hard to say. It was actually right around the time this writer is referencing. A simple check of Baseball Reference showed me that the Giants went 20-8 in July and, after a ugly August, bounced back to go 18-8 in September and win the division.

Good thing I am the only person with the necessary journalism skills to find these interesting factoids.

Somebody get this kid a pen and a laptop!

Come the playoffs, they became dangerous. Any well-armed team is. Start with Matt Cain -- three postseason starts, a 0.00 ERA. Throw in Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young winner. Add Madison Bumgarner the 21-year-old rookie who helped blank Texas in Game 4.

So according to this writer, the Giants' incredibly deep and talented pitching staff only became dangerous once the playoffs started?

Nevermind that the three people he mentioned in the subsequent sentences combined for 36 wins and none of them had an ERA above 3.45 during the regular season. They weren't really effective until the playoffs.

I am nearing my breaking point...

"This doesn't make sense. You don't realize it." Cain said.

Ok you caught me, there was more to this quote and Cain was talking about winning the World Series. But when I close my eyes I imagine Matt Cain reading this article about his team, calling up the AP writer, and giving him this quote.

"The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" announcer Russ Hodges shouted over and over after Bobby Thomson launched "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" in 1951.

Time to redo that cry: The Giants win the Series! The Giants win the Series! The Giants win the Series!

It's only fitting that this writer, who started the recap by loosely tying one of the Giants' most famous players to winning the World Series, chose to end his story by once again loosely tying a moment in Giants' history to this year's World Series win.

I don't know Russ Hodges personally, but I assume his family reads this blog because everyone does. So if I am wrong, someone from the Hodges' family should correct me, but I just don't believe Hodges would "redo that cry".

The AP writer would ask, and Hodges would kick him in the penis, throw down his microphone, and immediately quit his job.

It's sweeping the nation!

Hey guys, I'm probably the most well-known sportswriter in America, Rick Reilly. I've written for dozens of years about sports. I get paid, literally, millions of dollars to do this. And you know why? Because I write what no one else can. I've got my finger on the pulse of America. It's not big until Reilly says it's big.

And check this out guys, it's the newest craze, you've probably never even heard of it:

Fantasy football.

You could always spot them, the addicts. The Frisbee-eyed fools leaping off their bar stools over a missed FG in the first quarter of a game 3,000 miles away.

This might be the worst column I've ever read. I don't even know where to begin. The worst part of this is referring to people as "Frisbee-eyed fools," which is nonsense. Wait, no, it's the allegation that only people who play fantasy football care about games that are "3,000 miles away." Wait... it's the way that he's setting himself up for the reveal, like we're all sitting at home saying, "Addicts? Addicted to what?! I don't know what you're alluding to! What is this new technology?! FEED ME, RICK REILLY!" Wait... no... it's... it's... forget it, please just fucking murder me in my sleep.

The sickies checking WebMD on their iPhones to see how long turf toe takes to heal.

Get it? Sickies, looking at WebMD. Another award-winning, hot-button column from Rick Reilly, who again, is paid millions and millions of dollars to write this.

The incurables watching two hours of Sunday-morning Weather Channel before picking a kicker.

I was about to ask if Reilly had ever heard of, but then I realized that he also apparently had never heard of fantasy football, so it's possible.

Actually what I realized is that this is a fake anecdote actually experienced by nobody and that Rick Reilly is the biggest hack writer ever.

They're fantasy football freaks, and I always figured the "fantasy" referred to their sex lives.

BAM! Revealed. You had no idea he was talking about this brand-new thingamajigger called "Fantasy Sport," did you? Rick Reilly also figured that the "fantasy" in "fantasy football" meant "sex," which TOTALLY would have made sense. I also thought these guys were talking about "sex football," which is definitely a thing, and not "fantasy football," which no one has ever heard of!

Oh, and don't forget how famous Rick is. He didn't just join a league with the boys. He joined a league with SUPERSTARS.

But this season, I was talked into joining a Hollywood league with Season 7 "Bachelor" Charlie O'Connell, actor Jerry Ferrara (Turtle from "Entourage"), movie critic Ben Lyons, and a bunch of stand-up comedians and movie and TV producers.

That's right, a Hollywood league, bitches. Reilly is jumping into this new deal face first, motherfuckers. He's rolling deep with someone named Ben Lyons and a guy from the bachelor. Not enough star power for you? How about fucking TURTLE. Rick Reilly = Badass Fantasy Sex Football. QED.

What did I find out? They weren't getting any, either. But only because they were too busy working the waiver wires all Saturday night.

Yep, Rick found out that these "stars" weren't getting laid -- but they totally could! Man, these guys are fucking cool.

Also, who's waiver wire processes on Saturday? That's retarded, and as you'll see, this super badass league is really fucking weird to anyone who has even a cursory understanding of fantasy football. Oops, I mean sex football.

"I once broke up with a girl because she told me to start Ahman Green," says Ferrara, 30. "He had minus-3 points. I said I needed space. She asked if I was still mad about the fantasy football thing. I swore I wasn't. But I dropped Ahman Green the next day."

Turtle. Please call him Turtle.

Also this makes him sound like a guido douchebag, not a fantasy football "sickie." Which: Surprise! He is.

It's sad, really. Because the girls these guys get would make a mohel botch a bris.

That's a really creepy way to say that these guys are SUPER COOL BADASS SUPERSTARS that can have all the sex they want but they DENY it. And you know why?

Super brand new never-before-heard-of-craze FANTASY FOOTBALL.

I've used caps lock way too much for this post.

"I've had opportunities for sex on Sunday mornings that have been waaaaay too close to game time," says actor Max Greenfield ("No Ordinary Family," "Ugly Betty," "Veronica Mars," et al). "I've had, you know, difficulty focusing."

This is getting weird and pathetic. But mostly really fucking weird. Also, if you think there's anyone in this league you've ever heard of, please don't hold your breath.

Lyons' girlfriend woke up last weekend only to find him feverishly scouring the waiver wire. "She wanted to watch," Lyons says. "After about 90 seconds, she got out of bed and said, 'Wow, that was really boring.' So no morning sex for me, but I did pick up [Bills receiver] Steven Johnson, which I'm really excited about."

Why is there so much emphasis on these guys having sex? It's really strange and uncomfortable and I don't need to know that. It's a good thing there aren't any gay people in the league, or I'd have to hear Rick go on about buttsex (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

Still, the defending champion of our league -- Todd Milliner (co-producer, "Hot in Cleveland") -- has never passed up sex with a girl to concentrate on fantasy. He's gay.

No... Rick... please don't....

"Do you have any idea how many brunches I miss for fantasy?" he laments.

I absolutely LOVE the inherent gay stereotyping that gay people do fancy things like eat brunch.
He doesn't miss morning sex with his girlfriend, he's gay! He misses gay stuff like brunch and wearing sweaters! Crazy! This new trend even effects the gays!! I think it's going to catch on!!

Milliner has got to be one of the best fantasy football owners in the country -- gay or straight.

See, I know this sounds really oddly placed and faintly homophobic, but remember: Rick thought fantasy football was sex football (which is a thing), and obviously gay and straight people play different types of sex football (which is a thing). So you can't blame him on this one.

He went undefeated last season, 15-0. He's so obsessed, he doesn't do Thanksgiving dinner. He doesn't do fall holidays, period.

That's weird. Not eating Thanksgiving dinner doesn't make your fantasy team better. This guy sounds like he needs legitimate psychiatric help.

"I spoiled the Halloween of every kid who came to my door this year because I couldn't answer it. I had to be ready at all times to know whether Mewelde Moore got a TD or not. And I don't even HAVE Mewelde Moore."

Times Rick tried to show how funny and badass his cool Hollywood friends are but instead just made them look like raging dickheads with serious mental issues: 3

Into this craziness stepped little naive me, vowing, "I'm just going to do this for laughs. I refuse to become obsessed."

As if.

BWP MURDER MYSTERY: What year does Rick Reilly think he's in?

- He would watch two hours of the Weather Channel instead of going to their web site.
- He's just now being introduced to Fantasy Football.
- He unironically used the term "As if."

Mail your answers to Rick Reilly in a bloodstained envelope with a note attached telling him to quit his job.

The draft was at a Sunset Boulevard joint called Happy Endings. All these comedians and actors and yet nobody said a single funny thing all night. They were nose-down into their stacks of spread sheets and laptops. They were on phones to consultants. They had calculators out.

It was swanky! There were celebrities! Famous Hollywood people! I'm Rick Reilly!

I stood there with my one crappy printout from Rotoworld.

I'm sure Rotoworld appreciates you calling their work "crappy."

The very first week, I found out why fantasy players morph into fantasy freaks.

What could possibly make these, virile, strong, handsome, bulging... gorgeous... men...? I'm sorry, I lost my place, what was I saying? Oh yes, what could possibly make these men stop having sex with thousands upon thousands of nubile women? Seriously, these guys are badass and could have sex with anyone!

If you don't go in up to your hairline, you get scalped.

That sounds serious.

It's serious.

So people in your league kill each other?

Guys were adding and dropping like incoming Harvard freshmen. Mauling the waiver wire. Gypsy trading.

I'm sorry, what the fuck is "Gypsy trading"?

They were proving my exact point about fantasy -- it ruins the games. Your childhood team lost? Your favorite player won? Who cares? You don't own them!

I blame Obama for passing the 88th Amendment stating that you're only allowed to either root for your favorite team, or for the players on your fantasy team. Asshole.

"I'm at a bar,


and there's a crowd of people all cheering for their team, bound by the common love of their squad," says one of our owners, comedian Kevin Christy. "And I'm freaking out because Nick Folk just hit an 18-yard field goal in the middle of the first quarter in a losing effort against who gives a s---. I've become a sports bar non sequitur."

What an unfunny statement from a "comedian."

And then I found myself doing worse, like bugging reporter buddies for Reggie Bush injury updates. Like rooting for an Indiana tornado when Monday night came and I had nobody left on my roster. Like yelling insane things at the TV.

You rooted for Indiana to get hit by a tornado?

Times Rick tried to show how funny and badass his cool Hollywood friends are but instead just made them look like raging dickheads with serious mental issues: 4 (if you count himself)

"Honey, why are you cheering for No. 80 but against No. 88?" said my confused wife, the lovely Cynthia. "Aren't they on the same team?"

Sounds like someone's not getting any morning sex tomorrow.

It's a kind of sweet misery only fantasy freaks like me can understand.

Millions. Tens of millions of people play this game.

"I'm most embarrassed about rooting for guys to have a six-week groin injury," says one of my opponents, realtor to the stars Jon Bronson. "And watching my phone too much. I think I was staring at my iPhone when my kid took her first step."

He rooted for a guy to have a six-week groin injury? God, this is amazing. He's systematically taking down everyone in his league, including himself. It's going to turn out that there's an LA morning radio DJ in his league that murdered his children in a sacrifice to Arian Foster.

Times Rick tried to show how funny and badass his cool Hollywood friends are but instead just made them look like raging dickheads with serious mental issues: 5 (if you count himself)

But the more I got to know these guys, the more I saw why they did it.

Because they're fucking crazy?

Most of us don't go to an office. Our Guy Time Meter hovers near zero sometimes. I love my wife, but she doesn't want to kick paper field goals or ask if I got my haircut at the Oakland airport. Guys show love by giving each other crap. It's just how we do it.

If badly-written paragraphs were baseball players, this column would be the Murderer's Row Yankees and this paragraph would be Babe Ruth. It's the perfect storm. Unreadable, unfunny, untrue, amazing stuff. Really, really amazing.

First off, he manages to disconnect himself from his readers by mentioning that most of the people in the league don't work in an office. What, not everybody's a rich writer or movie star? What?!

I'm not going to touch whatever the fuck a "Guy Time Meter" is. And what is that "Oakland Airport" part? Is that a razz? "Hey Gary, where'd you get that haircut, the Oakland Airport? Which is notorious for giving haircuts... that aren't very good? Yeah, told you."

He then finishes with the cherry on top of a sundae that is made out of the worst, most foul-smelling animal shit of all time: "It's just how we do it." Wow, Rick, wow. Fuck yourself.

What are we gonna do, compliment each other's shirts and then make clam dip?

I'm sorry, I think I had a stroke and missed a part where toward the end of this column there was a big argument against playing fantasy sports, or something, and Rick was forced to come to the defense of guys everywhere.

Nothing presents more chances to taunt than fantasy football. It's daily for me now with these guys, hourly sometimes. And it's more fun than a fistful of pardons.

You might criticize Rick for not making any sense in this graph, but you have to cut him some slack: He's just invented this new game, called "Fantasy Football," and it's really about to catch on, so he's just a little excited!

"It's the camaraderie of the guys," says Ferrara of his fantasy entourage. "It allows you to kinda be kids again. It's like we're all back playing Wiffle Ball in the yard. Man, I'm getting kinda teary just thinking this stuff."

This is weird but it's almost over so I need to mention some weird stuff from the sidebar:

First off, according to Rick, his team name is "The RomoSapiens," which is the most awful fantasy team name in the history of ever, made up by a guy whose job it is to be creative for a living.

He refers to his "best pick" as Zach Miller, the TE from the Raiders.

He then mentions that his team -- in a league of diehard assholes with money to burn and who forgo sex, meals, and human interaction to check on their teams -- is 5-3. Five and three!

But here's the weirdest part, for anyone who knows anything about fantasy football:

He compliments himself for picking up the Packers defense before they scored 43 points this past week. And is upset he dropped Carson Palmer before he scored 63 points in a week. What kind of cracked out, insane scoring system is this? 63 points?!?!?!?! Do they get 10 points for a touchdown or something? This is nonsense and no legitimate fantasy league is set up like that.

I mean, sorry to go off on a nerdy tangent, but for a guy who just wrote a column about fantasy football, he really closes the book and inarguably proves that he knows fucking nothing about fantasy football.

Sorry. One sentence left. Turtle said some unfunny shit about something:

That comes from Ferrara's heart. It has to. He's 1-7.

I... what?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The SF Gigantes won the World Series last night, which is a big win for sports-critical-meta-FJM-impersonation blogs.

So hear ye, national bad sportswriters, which one of you will heed the call and submit awful knee-jerk, badly/un-researched nonsense about small sample sizes, grittiness and team chemistry? Which one of you is brave enough to test the fires of bad column writing?


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cliff Lee Rent-An-Ace Tour has played its last 2010 gig. When we next see Lee, there's a good chance he'll be the lead singer for the New York Yankees.

Sabathia will be on drums. Granderson plays bass -- not because he's black!! The guitarist is Jeter, who refused to move over to synth when A-Rod came on, but no one really blamed him.

If so, the memories of his 17-week Texas Rangers career will be a conflicted one. So good and yet, so 0-2.

He went "so" 0-2 in the World Series. As opposed to Matt Cain, who only sort of went 1-0, and Julio Borbon, who undecidedly went 1/2.

Also, Cliff Lee gave up 4 runs in 4 2/3 in Game 1, which is bad, but last night he actually pitched really well, going six shutout innings before giving up a couple singles and then the big mistake to Renteria. But still, really, you're going to say that a 7 IP, 6/0 K/BB, 6 H performance is going to really haunt him? And not, you know, the offense that managed 12 runs in 5 games? This is Cliff Lee's fault now?

Lee started this World Series against the San Francisco Giants with a loss and ended it with one. As prop bets go, you would have gotten Bengie Molina-sized odds on the chances of Lee taking the L train twice in six nights.

No, the Rangers started the World Series with a loss and ended it with one. If Darren O'Day, relieving Lee, didn't give up a home run to the first batter he faced -- I mean, Texas actually managed seven runs that game. Kinsler, Guerrero, Murphy, Hamilton (!), Cruz... all of those guys hit .200 or LOWER. Lee "took the L," but he didn't lose those games (he sure didn't help in Game 1, granted). But how is this his fault!?!?

He wasn't the best pitcher in this Series. That was San Fran's Tim Lincecum. He wasn't the second best (the Giants' Matt Cain). Or third best (SF's Madison Bumgarner). I'm not even sure he was fourth best (Texas Colby Lewis?).


On June 21, 1984, Dennis Eckersley pitched 6 1/3 innings for Chicago against Pittsburgh, giving up 9 hits, 7 earned runs, striking out 2 and walking three. IT HAUNTED HIM FOREVER.

Instead, he was on the wrong end of half the wins the Giants needed to close out this Series on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Not only did he give up the deciding three-run dinger to Edgar Renteria with two out in the top of the seventh, but he was out-dueled by a guy who arrived at the stadium wearing a bow tie. It was like getting beat by George Will.

He was so bad, he gave up runs! And the other pitcher wore a bowtie!!! What a fucking loser!!!

I don't even need to say this, but this is retarded, to say that Lincecum's looks have anything to do with the fact that, you know, he's one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball today. Because nobody thinks that looks correlate to talent any more, right?

I mean, this might be the greatest QB in NFL history.

Actually, Lincecum had electric stuff. The Dallas-area power grid could have run off it for weeks. Lee was good (seven innings, six hits, six strikeouts, those three earned runs), but Lincecum was, well, freakishly good.

"Cliff Lee went 0-2. He played bad! Except when he played good but Lincecum was better. Why am I writing this? I don't know! I can't feel my face! Help the Wojo!!!"

"It was a classic pitchers' duel -- down to that home run," Lee said. "Nobody in this room is more disappointed than I am."

Lee spoke in measured, even tones, but his eyes said otherwise. They were red and borderline misty. Anybody who thinks these losses didn't leave more than a flesh wound doesn't know Lee.

This is just complete nonsense now. Of course Cliff Lee is disappointed, because his team just lost the World Series. But to pin all the blame on him is just really misguided, just because he threw what you're about to admit was one mistake pitch.

"If I could go back in time and make a different pitch, I would," Lee said. "But you can't do that."

It was a cutter, by the way. A cutter that didn't cut. It found the fat part of the plate, then the fat part of Renteria's bat and then the left-field seats.

Why he didn't go ahead and walk Renteria with the count at 2-0 is a question that will make the sports-talk rounds. With runners on second and third and first base open, Lee could have pitched around Renteria and taken his chances against the little-used Aaron Rowand.

At the end of the day, Cliff Lee is a pretty good pitcher that will continue to pitch well and make lots of money and not really be haunted by one mistake pitch, especially in a World Series where the real story was how his team's offense got dominated. Cool. Now let's make fun of Wojo.

Lee could have pitched around super duper power hitter Edgar Renteria, but he had the CARAAAAZZYYYY thought that maybe since Renteria hit, like, 7 home runs this year, he wasn't really a power threat, and that Cliff Lee is an objectively better baseball player than Renteria and could have gotten him out.

But instead Wojo suggests that he gives Renteria the base to face Aaron Rowand ... why? This is the stupidest thing ever written by anybody. And by "this," I mean this blog post, by me, right now.

"I don't really want to load the bases right there," Lee said.

Wojo then went back and erased the previous paragraph, realizing how fucking stupid it would have been to intentionally walk Edgar Renteria.

So he threw the cutter and Renteria hit the dinger that gave the Giants their first world championship since 1954.

Rowand flew out to right to end the inning.

Hey Wojo, what type of vision does hindsight have?

Edgar Renteria has been intentionally walked 14 times in the past 7 seasons.

That's how it goes. Without Lee, the Rangers probably wouldn't have defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series or perhaps the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. He was the rotation's rock.

I like when columns just disprove their own points.

But now the Rangers have to beat the Yankees again. They outflanked the Yankees in the July 9 trade that brought Lee to Texas. They outscored and outpitched them in the ALCS. Can they out-money-whip them?

Can they out-cost-effectiveness-analysis them? Stay tuned for THE MOST EXCITING OFFSEASON EVER.

Lee, 32, became a free agent as the Giants were dousing each other with bubbly. This weekend he can begin entertaining offers from all teams.

"This is the first time I've been a free agent," he said. "I'm going to see what that's all about. … I know I enjoyed it here. I'm not ruling out the possibility of coming back, but I've got to play things out and see how it goes. I know this was a great group of guys, a lot of fun and I would love to be a part of it next year, but like I say, there's so many things that can happen, you never know."

At one point, this column was about how Lee's 0-2 record in the World Series is going to haunt him in the offseason, or something, but now it's just Gene Wojciechowski's Tangent Land.

Lee's priority list isn't all that unusual for high-profile free agents:

• The traditional "What's best for my family" was mentioned first.

• Playing for a winning team was next.

• Being the team's "lead singer"

• Money

• Oh whoops, number one should have been money

He didn't have to say anything about money. It's a given Lee is going to command something in the range of $20 million per season for five or six years. And nobody in the Rangers' clubhouse will blame him if he goes elsewhere to get it.

I made myself laugh because I wrote that last thing before I read this paragraph. But hey Wojo, "What's best for my family" means money.

"I think any guy here would tell you, 'God bless him, go get what you can,"' Rangers outfielder Jeff Francoeur said. "At the same time, it comes down to what you're comfortable with, what's enough money. … It depends how bad, obviously, New York wants him and how bad they have to have him. And you can see how bad we want him here."

What is this column about any more? I'm bored. There's a few random graphs thrown in there that I'm not going to bother to reprint, so let's skip ahead a bit:

Let's face it: the Yankees are baseball's Death Star. Their checkbook blots out the sun. They can offer Lee the most dollars and the most contract years. Most free agents are powerless against The Force. (Hal Steinbrenner: "Cliff, I am your faaaather.")

I always thought of Hal as more Sith Lord than Vader. Pablo Sandoval is Jabba the Hut, of course. Eckstein is obviously Yoda.

"Whenever there's an attractive player, the Yankees are part of the equation," Greenberg said. "So that's just part of the reality of the industry."

And the team band needs a new lead singer.

Lee is a Cy Young winner, a three-time All-Star and a left-hander. Good things to have on a roster. But he's also 32. If you're the Rangers, do you want to commit at least $100 million and five years to a starting pitcher in his early 30s?

If you're Gene Wojciechowski, do you really want to commit 1,000 words to whatever this has been?

If it's me, I say no. And not just no to Lee, but no to any pitcher with a similar birth certificate. Love the guy -- just not for that money and those years.

This column is titled "Cliff Lee's unhappy ending in Texas."

The Rangers are his fourth team in two years. He can stay and become Lotto rich and beloved. Or he can go to the Yankees and become Lotto rich squared and maybe beloved. He'd join a rotation of CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte (who is a decent bet to re-up for a one-year deal) and A.J. Burnett.

"I really don't know what's going to happen or where I'm going to be," Lee said. "I want to be on a winning team. I want to be on a team, if not this team, like this team. The most fun I've had playing the game [was] with these guys. It's been a good ride. I've enjoyed every single second of it."

Breaking news: Cliff Lee would like to play for a team.

Every second of it, except the ending.

Ironic, because the most enjoyable thing about this column is that it's over.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Giants win!

Looking forward to the batch of bad columns tomorrow about the leadership of Pat Burrell or something.

Choose Your Own Adventure!

(Page 1)

You're an editor for the biggest sports news web site in the universe. You need a front-page column about the Giants. One of your columnists, Jim Caple, is a die-hard Giants fan.

To choose anyone else to write the column, turn to page 33.
To spit in the face of objectivity and just have him write it as a starry-eyed homer without any semblance of analysis or relevance, turn to page, 59!

Page 59.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Two terrible things happened on Oct. 16, 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis began, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear holocaust. Worse, the Giants lost 1-0 to the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series.

Ha-ha! Good one, Caple. Let's get the insensitive comparison of sport to a time of international panic out of the way right off the bat.

As every Giants fan knows -- it's embedded in the DNA -- the 1962 series ended with the potential tying and winning runs stranded at third and second base in the ninth inning when Willie McCovey lined out to Bobby Richardson. The loss still pains me even though I was only 9 months old at the time. No one, however, feels worse about that ending than Felipe Alou, who failed to bunt a runner from first to second that inning.

I'm going to take issue with the fact that "every" Giants fan knows this. I consider myself a passionate fan of the Orioles and Redskins, and I don't think I could tell you much about either of those franchises from 50 years ago.

I also like "The loss still pains me," because it totally did then, as one-year-old Jim Caple cried and cursed the name of Felipe Alou.

That seems like enough about an irrelevant 50-year-old anecdote that was really just sort of untrue, so let's move on.

"I could not advance the runner and that runner was Matty Alou, my brother,'' Felipe said in the Giants' clubhouse Sunday night. "So Matty was still at first base when Willie Mays hit that double that didn't score Matty. It's one of the sore spots of my career. Of my life, really. But if this team wins, maybe I will forgive me a little bit.''

Oops, nope, we're still on it. So we're three paragraphs in and have covered: The Cuban Missile Crisis, and a time when Felipe Alou failed to bunt his brother over from first. This is a front-page story.

This is sadder than the time Ozzie Canseco left Jose's syringes in the team bus! :-(

The world nearly ended after that first World Series loss. The world literally shook and cracked in a second Giants World Series loss in 1989. The sky figuratively fell in during the third World Series loss in 2002 when the Giants somehow blew a 5-0 lead in Game 6 when they were eight outs away from the championship. But now, after all that and more, after 52 years, after two near moves to Toronto and St. Petersburg, Fla., the Giants are one victory away from their first world championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958.

As if the Cuban Missile Crisis comparison wasn't enough, Caple has now compared Giants World Series losses to natural disasters (basically saying there was a relationship between the 1989 earthquake and their playing in it [!?!?!??!]) and the sky "figuratively" falling (which is nonsense.) Just in case you thought that this was going to have any semblance of objectivity.

If only Caple had put his foot through his computer right now. But instead he keeps writing.

"We're one win away and we can all feel it and taste it and smell it -- everything,'' outfielder Cody Ross said after 21-year-old Madison Bumgarner and the Giants shut out Texas 4-0 in Game 4. "But we have to stay focused and keep grinding like our backs against the wall. If we do that, we'll be all right.''

It's about time to remind you that this column is allegedly about why the Giants winning the Series shouldn't be a surprise.

There have been better Giants teams that fell short -- that 1960s team had five Hall of Famers on the roster -- but we shouldn't be at all surprised that San Francisco leads this series 3-1.

This is referred to as "burying the lead."

For one thing, the Rangers got so much praise after beating the Yankees 4-2 in the American League Championship Series, everyone conveniently forgot that Texas was essentially a .500 team after June (43-42). Meanwhile, the Giants went 52-32 in the same span and then went on to beat Atlanta in four games in the NL Division Series and then beat the team most everyone predicted would win the World Series, the Phillies, in six games in the NLCS.

How convenient, everyone! Or should I say, Rangers apologists! Thought we'd forget you weren't good in an arbitrary period of time defined by a Giants fan, did you? Well it's all out in the open now! You bastards!!!

I mean, I don't know how much you want to weight this as a reason for the Rangers playing worse than the Giants, but it should be noted that the Rangers were a half-game up on June 11 in their division, reeled off 11 straight wins, and were never really challenged again. Meanwhile, the Giants' race went down to the very last day, and almost a playoff. So the Rangers can be excused to lapsing in really meaningless games when the Giants had a bevy of must-wins.

Or we can just make the numbers say what we want them to say.

The Giants are a very good team. And a better team than the Rangers.

I'd like to imagine that there was a rest of this paragraph that gave relevant statistics and analysis but was lost in a violent windstorm or something.

The Giants' pitching was highly regarded -- and rightly so, when Bumgarner is your No. 4 starter and Barry Zito doesn't even make the postseason roster -- but all that talk about torture led to a slight exaggeration about their inability to score runs. For instance, you could win a lot of bets in a bar -- in fact, you could win bets in the Giants' clubhouse -- with this one: Who hit more home runs in the regular season, the Giants or the Rangers?

What this column should have been was: The Giants' pitching is really good and the Rangers' hitting is really good, but the Giants hitting is better than you'd think and great pitching beats great hitting in the playoffs. Instead it's basically been abject nonsense like this based on strange non-facts and numbers molded to make a point.

Also a quick note on Barry Zito is that he sucks. The worst argument to make for how good the Giants are is that Zito was left off the roster. The best argument is: none, because their pitching is awesome and everyone knows that.

So let's get to the next nonsense point, which is that, yes, the Giants and Rangers each hit 162 home runs this year.

"Our ballpark is a tough place to hit, especially compared to this park here -- they're complete opposites,'' Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz said. "So our home run totals wouldn't be as high as the Rangers' in the regular season.''

But they were. The two teams' home run totals were exactly the same: 162. "Were they?'' Schierholtz said. "I didn't know that.''

Okay, so they both hit 162 home runs. I'm about to spend way too long on this but let's count up the ways that this is misleading:

The Giants HR total counts three from a guy who is on the other team's roster (Bengie Molina). It also counts a 11 from Aaron Rowand, who has one World Series at-bat. And then there's just a bunch of strange multi-homer efforts from dudes like John Bowker and Jose Guillen who have absolutely no effect on the Series.

Meanwhile, the Rangers' 162 homers came more from people you'd expect home runs to come from: Hamilton, Cruz, Young, Guerrero. I'm not going to do the math because it takes too long and I refuse to do AB/HR because that REALLY takes too long and is the only way to get to the bottom of this, but suffice it to say: The Rangers WS lineup is homer-hittinger than the Giants WS lineup. Someone, please prove that wrong.

Also, and this is just getting ridiculous now that I'm even bothering but: The Rangers had a shit-tonne of injuries this season. Kinsler and Cruz BOTH missed 1/3 of the season. They didn't really have a regular first baseman or catcher. Oh, and the fricking MVP, Josh Hamilton, missed a month. Pretty remarkable that so much of this team either got hurt or was in some kind of turmoil and still had just as many HR as the Giants.

He's not alone. Everyone seems to look at this team as the Hitless Wonders. "Last year we had a lot of trouble scoring runs so I think that kind of carried over to this year as far as the media goes and everyone expecting us to be the same team,'' Schierholtz said. "Aubrey Huff got hot early and that got us going. We got Buster Posey and Ross and picked up some pieces.''

The Giants were eighth in hits and eighth in OPS in the NL this year. And if everyone expected them to have trouble scoring runs this year, they were dead wrong, because the Giants scored 697 runs, so take that!!!! (Ninth in the NL). Also, they were tied with the Cubs for last in the NL in stolen bases, for what that's worth.

Meanwhile, Texas (who hit just as many home runs!!!!!) had twice as many stolen bases and OPSed .757 to the Giants' .729. You know, as a point of reference for the claim that Texas' offense performed better in the regular season. But these are silly things -- I should have just taken one statistic that both teams randomly had the same amount of and abjectly called the teams the same.

This is a different and much better team than the one that left Scottsdale, Ariz., at the end of spring training. In addition to Ross and Posey, the Giants added Pat Burrell. With a healthy Edgar Renteria now at short and Juan Uribe at third in place of Pablo Sandoval, the infield defense is also improved. San Francisco's lineup still may not inspire fear, but it doesn't have to with the Giants' pitching. And as good as that pitching was at the beginning of the season, it's even better now with Bumgarner.

The hitting was good! The hitting wasn't as good! It didn't need to be good! Don't pay attention to me!

What is all this stuff about how good Juan Uribe's third base defense is? Is this true? This can't be true. Just because he used to be a fat shortstop and now he's a fat third baseman doesn't make him good at defense all of a sudden.

"I played against these guys [with the Marlins] and I'm telling you, I hated facing these guys,'' Ross said. "It doesn't surprise me they shut out one of the best offensive teams in the game because I faced them and I know. We had a pretty good team in Florida with some guys who could really swing it and they shut us down left and right.''

Caple gracefully ends on the note that the Giants have really good pitching, which everyone knew. This column started with a strange Cuban Missile Crisis reference.

As Ross said, the Giants are so close they can figuratively smell it and taste it, but they aren't there yet. They have to face Cliff Lee in Game 5 first, and other Giants clubs have come close without closing it out (damn you, Scott Spieizio!). But those teams didn't have a 3-1 lead and they also didn't have Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain lined up back-to-back.


Giants fans have been waiting more than a half-century for this, but with one more victory (cross fingers there are no earthquakes), they and Felipe may finally be able to literally taste a world championship. And I wouldn't be surprised if it tastes like a fine Napa or Sonoma Valley sparkling wine after it has been poured over their heads.

Good luck Giants! We're all rooting for you because apparently when you lose it causes international disasters.