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.

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