Week of August 31, 2015


‘Tis the season…I call this “The Lion”.

Drink Roger Goodell’s Tears of Unfathomable Sadness

As you’re probably aware, a federal judge ruled against the NFL in the Deflategate/Ballghazi “scandal” this week. If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know that I despise Roger Goodell, and the news absolutely delighted me. The whole “scandal” was absolutely ludicrous, starting with the fact that the NFL apparently took ball inflation so seriously that instead of paying someone to safeguard the game balls after they were measured before the game, they allowed each team to hold them instead. And when the Colts complained to the league for their AFC title game against the Patriots, the NFL could have reached out to the Patriots and said, “We got this complaint. We are informing you now that we will be periodically checking the game balls throughout the game.” Instead, they decided to try a sting operation. If the Patriots did cheat, then the NFL knowingly allowed the first half of the AFC Championship game to be delegitimized. That is pure stupidity – and the whole thing went downhill from there. This article is a nice little summary of Goodell’s failures, and again – I enjoyed every second of it. -TOB

Source: This is Roger Goodell’s Defining Defeat, and the One He Deserves”, Tom Ley, Deadspin (09/03/2015)

PAL: This ball deflation crap might be the dumbest sports story I can recall (not this article or TOB’s write-up,  but the ongoing story). However, if you remove the who and the what from this, there is something interesting about CBAs between ownership and its…NOPE still the dumbest story. Hey, I tried.

TOB: It’s ok, Phil:

The Hitting Concession

Madison Bumgarner is a pitcher who can hit, which is very rare. Why is it so rare? How can someone who’s played baseball his entire life be so bad at hitting? It wasn’t always this way. Jonah Keri puts the question this way: “So, how did we get here? In an analytically driven sport constantly striving for excellence, how did we reach a point where everyone now accepts total incompetence in one out of every nine times at bat?”

The designated hitter has been around my entire life, so I’ve never paused to consider why it’s acceptable for a position player (in the literal sense) to be so bad at one of the fundamentals of the game.  Pitchers – especially starter pitchers – are specialist, yet, unlike a kicker in football or even a goalie in hockey, they are at the center of the action for the majority of the game. The more I think about it, the more I’m shocked there at least one .300 hitting pitcher each year. Just one naturally gifted hitter who happens to pitch.

And then I look up how many .300 hitters are in the 2015 season. Care to guess? Over or under 40.5? The answer (as of Thursday night, 9:24PM PST): 25. That’s less than 1 per team! I guess the reason there aren’t many good hitting pitcher is that there aren’t many good hitters, period.  – PAL

Source: An At-the-Plate Anomaly: Madison Bumgarner and the Rapid Decline of the Hitting Pitcher”, Jonah Keri, Grantland (9/2/15)

TOB: Right. Think about it this way. Hitting a baseball and throwing a baseball have almost no physical connection. There is no overlap in skills. Both are extremely difficult to do at the major league level, and the odds are extremely low that a single person would be naturally gifted at both, and have the time to develop those natural abilities to a level to perform at a high level in the major leagues.

PAL: How about this: “In 1925 — at age 37, no less — Walter Johnson  hit .433/.455/.577 in 107 PA with two HR and 20 RBI.”

Vin Scully May Love the Dodgers, But He Is a National Treasure

The Giants have had a bad week. After losing two games over the weekend to the Cardinals, they went down to L.A. and got swept – losing each game by a single run – to fall 6.5 games behind the Dodgers. I hate pretty much everything about the Dodgers, except Vin Scully, the Dodgers announcer since 66 years and counting. Vin is likely a Dodgers fan, but you might not know it when listening to him call a game. His voice in smooth and soothing, and he tells a story like no other. This video is a great example of why I like Vin, as he narrates two young kids, one a Dodgers fan and one a Giants fan, and projects a narrative explaining their respective behavior. It’s great, and Scully is right – it’s been a bad week for the Giants, but the memory of three World Series wins in five years is still fresh. -TOB

Source: Youngsters Amuse Scully”, MLB.com (09/01/2015)

PAL: Never in my life have I strung together a handful of sentences as elegant and plainspoken has Scully’s vamping in this video. Move over Morgan Freeman; Vin Scully is the narrator in my imaginary movie.

Who’s Got Next?

Grantland put together an amusing article about how American pickup basketball games need to stop counting by 1s and 2s and start counting by 2s and 3s. In a 1s and 2s game, the “3-point shot” is severely overvalued. Of course, as a jump shooter, this is why I love going by 1s and 2s. This is pretty obvious for anyone who ever stopped to think about it – but it’s still fun and the math they use to back it up is illuminating. -TOB

Source: How to Fix Pickup Basketball With Analytics”, Kirk Goldsberry, Grantland (09/02/2015)

Video of the Week

Randy the Sports Dad. Something we all inspire to be.

PAL’s Song of the Week: Ludella Black – “I’ve Just Seen a Face”

Check out all of our picks here. Because you need a break from your tunes.

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Email: 123sportslist@gmail.com

Twitter: @123sportsdigest


“Step 1: We buy into this club. Step 2: We roll over to the club in your Mercedes Benz or my pre-owned Acura Legend. Step 3: I dagger you on the dance floor. Just bounce, bounce. Now all the ladies sayin’ bounce. What do you say, sexy?

Jean Ralphio

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