Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rick Reilly in he how he forget what how to write the sentence.

I don't get this one. Is this good literary style? Or are these just badly written sentences? I really don't get it.

An American Beauty Rose

I mean right off the bat, does that headline even make sense?

Derrick Rose isn't so much a name as a sentence. As in: Derrick Rose in the NBA three years ago and hasn't stopped since.

Okay, so Derrick Rose is so good that he ... can't be spoken of, unless it's in a sentence? As opposed to Theo Ratliff, who is so bad that everyone just walks around like zombies going "Theo Ratliff... Theo Ratliff."

I've read "Derrick Rose in the NBA three years ago and hasn't stopped since" a thousand times this morning and I have no idea what it's supposed to mean. Someone please help me.

He's my MVP so far, not just for the way he's carried the limping Chicago Bulls the way Penn's carried Teller. And not just for the way he jumps like a frog bred with a kangaroo. And not just for the way he scores, defends and passes like he's going to the electric chair tomorrow.

Yuck. Three analogies in one graf, first off, is like a cheese grater to my eyeballs. And it's not just that Reilly's schtick is older than Father Time! It's that it's also as uncreative as a joke... that's bad... and it's not a really good joke.

He's my MVP for moments like this:

There is a 102% chance that Reilly will now share some strange anecdote about how good of a person Rose is and for that reason deserves the MVP award, given annually to a player that Rick Reilly observes being nice.

Three young fans are walking alone after leaving the United Center.

Wait, three people are walking "alone"?

They're the last to go, so they're all alone.

Oh, I guess they are. I'm all alone too, me and my 50 co-workers in my office today. We're all alone.

A white SUV pulls up next to them. This part of Chicago could use a shave and a clean shirt, so somebody rolling up on you isn't usually happy news. The young men try not to look. The window comes down and who is behind it but Derrick Rose himself, The Heir to Air.

Whatever, Derrick Rose was nice to some fans so he's the MVP. Skip ahead:

Derrick Rose, but the pass still hadn't come.

Are these typos? Or ... what? Can someone explain to me what this is?

Now his elbow was at about rim height -- which is insane for a man who is only 6-3. He had done his part -- the alley -- but the oop still hadn't arrived from teammate Ron Brewer, so there was nothing to do but hang around and wait. He looked like some David Copperfield trick up there, immune to gravity.

Is it just me, or is the "alley" part of the alley-oop the pass, and the oop is the dunk? Oh, and Derrick Rose is the MVP, according to Rick Reilly, because:

He is a good basketball player
He was nice to fans
He is a nice guy
He jumped really high once and it looked like a magic trick

Rose tomahawked it through with one hand so hard he nearly left a dent in the floor.

I like that he linked this -- which I have no designs on clicking -- so we can all see how much of a nightmare basketball monster Derrick Rose is as he dunks a basketball, something that happens literally thousands of times every NBA season, NCAA season, year of rec league games, etc etc.

But wait -- Rose was humble about it!!! MVP. Because the MVP goes to the most humble player -- just ask Michael Jordan.

Who builds athletes like this nowadays? Rose calls people ma'am and sir. He doesn't have a Twitter page. After ad shoots, he personally goes around and thanks everybody in the room, even the lens-cap-holder guy. And he has the peculiar habit of referring to himself in the first person.

Nice guys finish MVP!!!!! Hey Rick, you haven't used the term "tongue-bathe" in 14 seconds, what gives?

Rose could put up numbers that would fry your calculator. He is easily talented enough to lead the league in scoring. His drive to the iron is unstoppable. His 3-pointers made are up 800 percent this season. The kid has made 69 treys already. Michael Jordan didn't make that many until his sixth season. But Rose would sooner tongue-bathe --

--phew --

-- goats than go for the scoring crown. "I can't do that! I'm the point guard!"

Because only Humble Derrick Rose agrees to fit into his team's system. Literally there are two players in the NBA that don't do this: Kobe and LeBron. Also this "800 percent" figure is REALLY fuzzy math, as Reilly is actually talking about Rose's 3PM/G, not total threes. Even though there has been a marked improvement, he felt the need to strangely embellish it, and now my head hurts.

My point here is: These statistical arguments are dumb (Rose is a great player beyond his 3-pt shooting so it's just really strange that the only time Reilly decides to back up his claim of Rose for MVP with stats is threes) and they come so late in the story that most readers have already blown their brains out anyway. So... whatever.

Derrick Rose where the blood flows in the gutters and fear rides on the wind on the South Side.

sdkfsfksjdkfsjdlf

In 1991, when Rose was 3, his Englewood neighborhood had 81 murders -- in the first four months. In 2008, the singer Jennifer Hudson's family was gunned down on West 79th, four blocks from Murray Park, where Rose learned to ball. So far, in the first three weeks of 2011, there have already been two murders.

Criteria for MVP, according to Rick Reilly:

Be really nice
Fit into your team's system
Be nice to your mom
Be humble
Good at basketball
Grow up in a dangerous part of Chicago

Derrick Rose the last few weeks in the All-Star voting to become a starter on the ridiculously loaded NBA East.

Seriously man, what the fuck??????

He pretended he'd be happy to be "a towel boy" but he admitted to friends that he was aching to be voted onto the starting team by the fans.

So humble.

In fact, he'd like to be more than that.

"Who gets your vote for MVP so far?" I ask.

"Can I vote for myself?"

"Sure."

"Myself."

HUMILITY.

We're entering a shimmering era in the NBA. I can't remember seeing this many thrilling young players all at once. Dwight Howard. Kevin Durant. Russell Westbrook. Blake Griffin. Chris Paul. Rajon Rondo. And Rose. All 25 or under and all could end up in the Hall of Fame.

Wait, Russell Westbrook is a potential Hall of Famer? He must be REALLY nice to fans.

The pick is Rose for all the right reasons.

All the right reasons being: Anything that has nothing to do with basketball.

And when someone asks you, "How'd the Bulls get so good?" you answer in a complete sentence: Derrick Rose.

Who goes around asking why the Bulls are good? Does this happen? And wait, I thought "Derrick Rose" was supposed to be part of a sentence, but now it's just its own sentence? As always with Reilly, more questions than answers.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mike Wilbon moved to Crazy Town.

Mike Wilbon left the Post recently to move to ESPN Chicago, but I guess his plane got re-routed into Crazy Town, because that his where he lives and writes stories like this.

As usual, Bears can't cut it at QB

Which is totally going to be a measured reaction to yesterday's Bears-Packers game that in no way blames Jay Cutler for getting hurt -- an injury panned by hundreds of thousands of people who had no fucking idea what it was and is being reported today as a fucking torn MCL -- and doesn't overstate the fact that the Bears just sort of weren't as good as the Packers this year.

CHICAGO -- The only thing older than the Bears-Packers rivalry is the Bears' failure over most of that time at quarterback.

Obviously this makes no fucking sense at all. The only thing older than thing A is thing B, which has only been going on during the duration of thing A.1

1 If B is less than A, then A is less than B, because I said so (Wilbon's theory of stupid fucking leads)

Great linebackers, running backs and linemen the Bears have plenty of; quarterbacks are another matter entirely. And perhaps never has there been more despair in Chicago over quarterback incompetence than in the wake of the loss to the Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. Forbidding the mention of the name Jay Cutler may be the best way to cope with winter. Only a Bears quarterback could stink out the joint and then get worse while sitting on the sideline.

Okay right, so this is complete fucking nonsense. Cutler is sort of the middle class man's Brett Favre in that he's up and down and everything, but really he's overall a pretty good quarterback. To call yourself a Bears fan and then allege that "never has there been more despair in Chicago over quarterback incompetence" than right now -- when the Bears made the fucking NFC championship game -- is the absolute height of the aftereffects of being pummeled in the brain repeatedly with many heavy and sharp objects.

Quarterbacks who inspired less despair than Jay Cutler to Bears fans, according to Mike Wilbon:

Brian Griese
Craig Krenzel
Rex Grossman
Kordell Stewart
An old Chris Chandler
Cade McNown (!!!!!)
Shane Matthews

I'd rather take any of those guys than Jay Cutler. That is, if I was starting an anti-football team.

Look, you're not going to read in this space any suggestion from me that Cutler's knee injury wasn't serious enough to send him to the sideline or that Cutler was a complete baby for not going back on the field with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.

By which he means he will spend most of the column talking about it and looking like a complete asshole within mere minutes because it turns out that Cutler fucking tore his MCL.

But any credible analysis of the NFC Championship Game, especially of the Bears' performance, has to start with Cutler, the pivotal figure in the game whether we're talking about his first-half incompetence or his second-half absence.

Right, credible. So let's look at "credible" reports of retarded tweets from other players and not things that aren't credible like the fucking report that he fucking tore his fucking MCL.

The absence, without question, infuriated more people.

Stupid people. We call these people "armchair QBs" or "Monday Morning QBs" for a reason, because they can sit at home and suggest that Jay Cutler -- who played with undiagnosed diabetes for a season, losing 35 pounds and almost dying -- is a pussy.

In 30 years of covering professional football I've never seen a front-line player crushed by his peers the way Cutler was Sunday in real time. Granted, communicating via Twitter is still relatively new, and we're now privy to unedited thoughts in a way we've never been previously.

And it turns out that most of them are just wrong and/or buttholes and even though they're football players and not just stupid fans, they're pretty stupid too, because even if Cutler wanted to play on his fucking torn MCL , the coaches wouldn't let him go back, and you just said that you weren't going to talk about this, but here we are, so... ???????????????????????

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, a future Hall of Famer, tweeted, "I have to be crawling and can't get up to come off the field. Josh Freeman would not come out. Meds are available ... " A few minutes later when the Bears sent their third-stringer, Caleb Hanie, in to the game and Cutler was therefore ineligible to return, Brooks tweeted, "There is no medicine for a guy with no guts and heart."

Ugh.

Derrick Brooks is an all-time football player, but it also seems he had all-time good luck in that he never suffered a major injury at the professional level. Maybe he did and he played on torn MCLs all the time, but I can't find anything that suggests he ever had one of those crazy seasons where he plays on a broken leg or whatever. Moreso it just seems like he had very, very good fortune for his whole career. So sure, he's the guy to ask about playing quarterback on a torn MCL.

Another future Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders, said, "I never question a player's injury, but I do question a player's heart."

Right. Deion Sanders, the guy who never met a tackle he felt like making, is the guy to ask about a player's heart. Also, Jay Cutler tore his MCL and the coaches took him out of the game. Why is this article still going on?

Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett tweeted, "If I'm on the Chicago team Jay Cutler has to wait 'til me and the team shower [and] get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room."

Darnell Dockett runs his mouth on Twitter about everybody. Also, Jay Cutler tore his MCL.

Mark Schlereth, the former lineman and current ESPN analyst, said via Twitter, "As a guy [who has had] 20 knee surgeries you'd have to drag me out on stretcher to leave a championship game."

Mark Schlereth is also a crazy asshole that shat on himself during games, earning the nickname "Stink." Also, let's talk about those 20 knee surgeries in 10 years, but then again, handicap parking spaces are fucking primo.

This one is my favorite:

And Maurice Jones-Drew tweeted, "All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee ... I played the whole season on one."

Time for another game of Unlicensed Doctor Versus Unlicensed Doctor! Today we have Dr. Jones-Drew and Dr. Blogger.

Dr. Jones-Drew's argument: He played the season with a "hurt knee" so Jay Cutler is a pussy.

Dr. Blogger's response: Well.

Mojo played the season on a torn meniscus, which I'm sure is painful and according to that article really sets back your ability to shift your weight properly. As a running back, it must, you know, hurt really bad.

Cutler, once again, tore his fucking left MCL, compromising the stability of the knee in his plant leg, which in addition to hurting really bad, completely fucked with his ability to plant and throw the football, as evidenced when he attempted to play on it and couldn't throw with any semblance of accuracy. So rather than be ineffective and bad, he was TAKEN OUT OF THE GAME, and a quarterback that could plant his foot was put in. So ... what are we arguing about?

This game has been won by... Dr. Jones-Drew!!! Aw, sorry Dr. Blogger. Back to the University of WebMD for you!

During a postgame radio show, a person closer to home, Steve McMichael, perhaps the toughest of the 1985 Bears, said that Cutler, for his own sake, needed to be legitimately injured.

Which he is.

Brian Urlacher, precisely because he's a great teammate, passionately defended Cutler's toughness in his postgame news conference, answering a question about the issue by saying, "Jay was hurt. I don't question his toughness. He doesn't bitch and complain when he gets hit." And Urlacher shot back about the players expressing their opinions via Twitter, "jealous guys, sitting at home watching on TV."

I love how Urlacher defending Cutler is smugly waved away by Wilbon as Urlacher having to do it because "he's a great teammate."

But what sticks out is that Brooks, Sanders, Dockett and Schlereth have all played in the Super Bowl. All but Dockett won at least one Super Bowl. Expanding the picture even more, it's clear Cutler has a credibility problem, and not because he's not popular with the media. Those tweets are a small sample of what was communicated about Cutler and his failings during the NFC Championship Game.

Right, he had a bad half and then got hurt. Ryan Grant was placed on IR in Week 1 this year with ankle and leg injuries (high ankle sprain, torn ligament, fractured bone -- lots of stuff was reported) and he didn't even try to get off IR and play Sunday. What a fucking jackass.

Then there's some more nonsense about how Cutler is a prick that I'm not even going to bother copy-pasting because it's the same old tired bullshit about how he doesn't have Peyton Manning's work ethic or Brett Favre's texting dexterity or Tom Brady's rapport with goats or whatever the fuck people keep blaming Jay Cutler for.

A former quarterback who wears a Super Bowl ring, who has studied Cutler's entire career in the NFL, told me before he left the field Sunday, "The sad thing is that if he embraced working on the monotonous details of quarterbacking he could be great."

No, the sad thing is that you don't just get on with your own life. Who cares? Jay Cutler is fine.

Then there's some crazy bullshit about how Jay Cutler doesn't "deserve" the Bears because the rest of the team is really awesome or something (which they're not, I mean they're good but it's not like they're the fucking All-Pro team with the janitor at QB). This would be REALLY funny if the unnamed QB "who wears a Super Bowl ring" is Trent Dilfer, which I'd bet it is.

It's hard for those of us who've grown up following the Bears to not wonder how many more championships the franchise would have won if the club played year in, year out with a competent quarterback. I'm 52 years old and have followed a team whose top quarterback, by passer efficiency, is Erik Kramer. It's a team whose best quarterback (Sid Luckman) has been retired 60 years, whose best receivers (Johnny Morris and Harlon Hill) have been retired 47 and 50 years, whose all-time leading receiver (Walter Payton) is a running back who has 170 more receptions than the franchise's No. 1 wide receiver.

Somehow, some way, this is the fault of Jay Cutler. Doesn't this just prove that the team has always had crappy QBs and crappy WRs? By the way, Cutler's wide receivers this year were Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Devin Aromashodu and Rashied Davis. Which, I guess, is his fault.

All of that is because the Bears can never find/develop/acquire the right quarterback, which is directly attributable to bad management. The Packers have gone from Brett Favre to another All-Pro, Rodgers, while the Bears have a second-stringer, Todd Collins, who isn't any longer fit for the NFL. For Collins to be the second-string quarterback ahead of Hanie is an example of egregiously poor decision-making as it concerns the position of quarterback, only the most important position in all of sports.

Sorry, I choked on my sandwich and died for a second and had a horrible dream where you started complaining that the Bears' 2nd and 3rd-string quarterbacks weren't very good.

The Bears are never the ones to draft and develop an Aikman or Manning or Roethlisberger, or wisely trade for a Brees. Hell, the Bears can't even come up with a Matt Ryan or a Joe Flacco. They gave two first-round picks and two other picks and a player for Jay Cutler, who at his best constantly has the metropolis holding its breath, looking at games through spread fingers, praying to God he doesn't screw it up by throwing it to the other guys. And at his worst, he looks for the perfect pass instead of moving the chains and managing the game and thinks his arm is stronger than John Elway's, which is both stupid and immaterial.

"I could pass for the first down, but fuck it, my arm is stronger than John Elway's, so hheeaaahhh!!!!!"

Before Cutler was hurt and his heart was questioned, he missed passes to Devin Hester (one crossing pattern, one deep ball) that 20 quarterbacks in the league would have made. Actually, Hanie completed essentially the same pass to Johnny Knox that Cutler missed to Hester.

I can't be sure but I think the crossing pattern to Hester he's talking about was at the 10:38 mark of the third quarter, when Cutler's MCL was already torn, and obviously he couldn't plant and throw, which is why he was taken out of the game, not a strange statement about his heart, which makes this come full circle as the worst paragraph ever written in sports journalism ever, and fuck you Mike Wilbon.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

FJM is stirring in its grave.

Another post because I'm bored, I miss Fire Joe Morgan, and Jayson Stark writes a very nice column about his Hall of Fame ballot during which he has a minor brain aneurysm:

Jack Morris

Oh noooooooooooo.

I know the sabermetrics crowd hates this vote. Sorry.

It's okay. It's really not a big deal, but I'm bored at work, so this post happens. It's nothing personal -- again, the rest of this column was great.

I'm as grateful for the invention of WAR, WPA and VORP as anyone else in my profession. But I still believe we're allowed to consider more than just raw numbers when we evaluate what a Hall of Famer is, or isn't.

This sounds like a fine argument, until you realize that by "consider more than just raw numbers," he's about to propose a bunch of ... you guessed it... numbers. Spoiler alert: They're crazy.

And if we look back on Morris' career, it sure looks as though the teams he pitched for, and the people he played with and against, were trying to tell us something.

I don't even know what to make of that. Baseball was trying to tell us that Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame? Jayson Stark: The Baseball Whisperer.

This man started on Opening Day 14 years in a row (1980 to 1993) -- for three different teams. The only pitcher to start more openers than that since World War II was Tom Seaver (16). Just real aces are allowed to do that. Don't you think?

So instead of using "raw" numbers to show his HOF argument, he uses the non-raw stat of "consecutive Opening Day starts," a statistic used by nobody to prove nothing, ever.

I love the assertion that "just real aces are allowed to do that."

These guys have started on Opening Day in the past 10-15 years or so:

Mark Hendrickson
Andy Benes
Brian Moehler
Joey Hamilton

You know, real aces.

This site actually did a great entry on the worst Opening Day starters of the last 50 years, and surprise surprise, look who pops up -- Jack Morris!!

And yeah, I get that there's some merit to the fact that he was the no. 1 starter on some pretty good Tigers teams and everything, but how does that make him a Hall of Famer?

Morris also started three All-Star Games. The only pitchers in the division-play era to start more were Jim Palmer and Randy Johnson. One thing I've noticed throughout the years: They don't run just any old stumblebum out there to start an All-Star Game -- let alone three of them.

You know, for an argument that doesn't use statistics, you're sure using a lot of statistics. Also, Charles Nagy started an ASG. And Hideo Nomo. And for Christ's sake, Jimmy Key. These guys are the absolute definition of "stumblebum."

Then there's October. Of the seven postseason series that Morris' teams played in, he started Game 1 in six of them -- again, for three different teams.

This is a more misleading sentence than "Mission Accomplished!" (And I even supported President Bush, I just needed something snappy there).

The point is, first of all, October is a SMALL SAMPLE SIZE. That's why there's so many unsung heroes, because sometimes shit happens. So a guy's HOF resume shouldn't really rest on what he did in October.

And furthermore, it's just downright disingenuous to throw out the number six, because it makes it seem rare and special. Instead of saying, "He was the no. 1 starter for three playoff teams," Stark double-counts 1984, 1991 and 1992, by virtue of the fact that, obviously, as the team's "Ace" pitcher, he started Game 1 of both the ALCS and the WS.

I'm not even going to bother finding other guys who have started Game 1 of a postseason series, but trust me, they're just as shitty as my other examples.

And his teams brought him back to start on short rest five times -- always in a Game 4 or 7 -- in those postseasons. There must have been some reason they liked the idea of trotting him out there when their seasons were hanging in the balance.

He pitched on short rest five times, so he's in the Hall of Fame?

Jack Morris has a career ERA+ of 105 in 18 seasons. That puts him in a tie for 478th all time. These arguments about him being the best pitcher on a team for 14 years, or starting ASGs and postseason series, they're nice. But they'd help a borderline guy's case -- not a guy who, statistically has had a worse career than Arthur Fucking Rhodes.

So I understand why Morris' 3.90 ERA gives people the shakes. But for all the reasons I've just laid out, it obviously wasn't just a couple of hundred misguided voters who looked at this man and thought: "Ace."

You're right, it was many more misguided people than just a couple hundred.