1-2-3 Sports! Week of January 26, 2018

These Annoying Hall of Fame Debates Will End

Yup, another Hall of Fame article, but Lindsey Adler revealed something to me that I’ve never considered: the steroid era in baseball is a finite chunk of time. The current drug testing and punishments were put into play in the spring of 2006, meaning for steroid era is thought to have begun in the late 80s and ended in the 2000s.

Right now we have the same arguments about Bonds, Clemens, and the others every time voting comes up. But that time will end. According to Adler, it will end with Alex Rodriguez (how perfect). He will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2022 and will be the last candidate to have become a star and put up Hall of Fame numbers in the sport’s doping era.

If Rodriguez lingers on the ballot for the maximum 10 years, it will have been more than a quarter century since Mark McGwire’s first appearance on the ballot opened the era in which we now live, in which Hall of Fame debates are largely exercises in anguished handwringing. His candidacy, of course, went nowhere for 10 years; he never even got close to the requisite 75 percent of votes for induction. He spent the first few years of his campaign floating around 20-ish percent, then fell each year by a few degrees until he received only 12 percent of the votes for his final year on the ballot. His campaign went nowhere again when the Today’s Game Era committee rejected him in 2017—the same year they voted in Bud Selig.

Let’s set aside whether or not you or I think Bonds or Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame for a paragraph. Adler is right that by keeping them out the voters are ignoring not just the players, but turning away from generation of people around my age. Our generation knows there were no more famous players than Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa. Manny at the plate during the playoffs was a scary thing. These guys defined an era. There’s no way around it, and ignoring them blurs the a large chunk of time in the game the Hall looks to preserve. The steroid era was an incredibly exciting time in baseball.

Should Bonds, Clemens and the rest be inducted? To me and induction feels like a celebration. I don’t know if we need to celebrate these guys. They will be remembered, and they ought to be. They will be considered some of the greatest, whether they are inducted or not. But do they need a bust? Is that what’s required to confirm they were outstanding? At the moment, it seems obvious that the answer is no. What about in 100 years?

They are a part of baseball’s story and the chapters they helped author are some of the most vivid to a massive generation of baseball fans. Cooperstown would be smart to start thinking about how it addresses the steroid era. Ignoring is not the answer. – PAL

Source: “The Hall Of Fame Is Trying To Vacate Your MemoriesLindsey Adler, Deadspin (01/25/2018)

TOB: A lot of things bother me about this.

Four people voted FOR Clemens and NOT for Bonds. FOUR. That is INSANE. There’s more circumstantial evidence that Clemens took steroids than Bonds. Clemens’ trainer admitted he injected Clemens. Bonds’ trainer never did. Bonds is arguably the greatest hitter who ever lived. At least top 2. Clemens is probably in the Top 5-10 pitchers. Bonds could be an ass, but many who covered him daily have said he was complicated and could be warm and charming. I’ve never heard Clemens described as anything but an asshole. If you are voting for Clemens, there is ZERO reason to not vote for Bonds.

I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: Aaron, Mays and every other great player from that era has admitted to taking amphetamines to get their energy up and improve performance. Why is one performance enhancing drug ok, and another is not? And most importantly: guys like Hank Aaron were faced with a choice: take a PED or not. They took it. It’s asinine to think they’d be faced with a different PED and say, “No, amphetamines are where I draw the line. I have principals.” It was a different era and a different environment.

By the way, here’s newly inducted Hall of Famer Jim Thome as a rookie:

Huh. Whaddayaknow. He looks a little skinnier there than he did later in his career, doesn’t he?

Even his head. Oh, I guess because the two major steroid investigations happened to be centered around Bonds’ trainer and Clemens’ trainer, the Steroid Stink isn’t on Thome, huh? Which is not to say I think Thome shouldn’t be in. He should! Even if he took steroids. But we have NO idea who took steroids and who didn’t. And keeping people out who you THINK took steroids is unfair, when plenty more who got away with taking steroids without the whispers will make it in. As Buster Olney said this week:

In conclusion, Bonds rules.

Are the Warriors Hungry Anymore? Are They So Good It Doesn’t Matter?

Bruce Jenkins has been around. He’s been a sportswriter for the SF Chronicle since 1973. He’s covered some of the greatest athletes in sports history on a daily basis – Montana, Rice, Bonds, among others. Sports journalism today tends to be long. That can be engrossing, but in the wrong hands it is often meandering. But Jenkins is from the old school: Have a point, get to it, and get out, in 800 words.

This week Jenkins used his skills to ponder the Warriors’ weekend loss at the Houston Rockets. Jenkins ask the question, point blank: Having won 2 titles in 3 years, does Curry, and by extension the entire Warriors team, have the hunger required to win the title this year? Jenkins takes a quick tour of NBA history – exploring the greats who had that hunger, won, and were later usurped by players whose hunger had not yet been satisfied. For example, Magic and Larry begat Isaiah who begat Jordan. Early on, Curry struggled – first with injuries, then with losing to the Spurs in 2013, and the Clippers (even amidst the Donald Sterling scandal) in 2014, before breaking through the last three seasons. The team seems to at times float through games, confident they can shoot themselves back in it whenever they feel like it. And that’s usually true.

But the Rockets have that hunger. They have that Jordan 1991 hunger. Harden and Chris Paul have that Isaiah 1989 hunger. As Jenkins says, “But the Warriors are not hungry. Not yet. There’s an unsettling tedium to the season so far….The Rockets are coming, and they are famished.” I can’t wait for that series. -TOB

Source: Have-nots Lurking Below Powerful Warriors”, Bruce Jenkins, SF Chronicle (01/23/2018)

PAL: Don’t love to agree with TOB, but he’s right. Jenkins nails this with precise efficiency. I was just talking with a coworker on Wednesday about the Warriors. Savio and I would check in after every game the following morning. We’d know who had a big night and who didn’t. We’d if Steph was getting careless with the ball or not. This year we agreed that we’ve been “keeping an eye on them” and we’ll get back into it during the playoffs. The Warriors and their fans are not nearly as hungry this year, and – yeah – I’ll be tuning in if they play the Rockets in the playoffs.

You Know It When You See It

There have been a lot of stories about the Hall of Fame voting in the past week, but I think this one is my favorite. Perhaps the best Hall of Fame test is your initial reaction when you realize someone is being considered for the first time. Here’s a sampling of some dudes up for voting this year and my reaction:

Billy Wagner: That’s funny. No.

Fred McGriff: Great nickname – Crime Dog – but how did he manage to have such an ugly swing from the left side? I think he got to 400 home runs, right? No Hall of Fame.

Edgar Martinez: I mean, I guess.

Trevor Hoffman: I can’t argue it, but never impressed me. How come relievers aren’t held to the same harsh, part-time player, dig as designated hitters like Martinez are held to?

Vladimir Guerrero: Absolutely.

It’s that ‘absolutely’ that sits at the heart of David Schoenfield’s article. Turns out, Vlad’s numbers aren’t quite the making of an “absolutely” reaction.

He appeared on 92.9% of ballots. To be honest, Guerrero’s Hall of Fame résumé isn’t as cut-and-dried as that percentage might suggest.

He finished with 449 home runs and 2,590 hits, falling short of those automatic career milestones. His career WAR of 59.3 isn’t slam-dunk territory and isn’t even the best for a right fielder on this ballot (Larry Walker is at 72.6 and Gary Sheffield at 60.3). His run of dominance extends only 10 seasons, from 1998 to 2007. He was a terrible postseason performer, hitting just two home runs in 44 games. Heck, Jeff Kent, a second baseman, has more lifetime RBIs and is tracking at only 12 percent of the vote.

But he’s a no-doubter in my mind, and in the mind of 92% of the voters this his second year on the ballot. I agree with Schoenfield when he says Vlad’s damn the torpedoes approach to the game, and his backstory, planted him favorably in the minds of baseball fans across the country. Not a lot of players capture the imagination of a national audience, especially players that spent a good chunk of time in Montreal. To watch him was to watch a talent that was too great to mess with and reign in. My favorite anecdote pretty much sums it up:

In Jonah Keri’s book on the Expos, “Up, Up and Away,” he tells the story of when Guerrero was first called up to the majors in 1996. Manager Felipe Alou called the coaches together. “I’ll never forget that meeting as long as I live,” said Jim Tracy, who was Alou’s bench coach. “Felipe called the staff into his office. And with that deep-ass voice of his, I heard this message: ‘Leave him alone.’ That’s what he said. ‘There’s going to be mistakes. The ball’s not going to be thrown to the cut-off man early on. His plate discipline is going to be very raw at best. Leave. Him. Alone.'”

There’s so much back and forth around who belongs in the Hall and who doesn’t. There’s aura and there are the numbers. This was a fun, articulate argument about a player’s aura, and that represents the side of baseball I like to think about most. – PAL

Source: Why Does Everybody Love Vlad Guerrero So Much?”, David Schoenfield, ESPN (01/24/2018)

Counter-Point: Edgar Martinez is a No Doubt Hall of Famer.

I have a counter-point to your Edgar reaction above. Perhaps because he played his entire career on the West coast you didn’t get to see him much, but he was fantastic. Everyone remembers Griffey tearing from first to third in the 1995 ALDS to beat the Yankees, but it was Edgar being Edgar, tearing a double down the left field line that allowed Griffey to score.

Edgar Martinez had a 12 year peak that rivals most hitters (Non-Bonds Division). Which brings me to my pre-emptive argument: Many argue Martinez does not belong in the Hall of Fame because he was almost exclusively a Designated Hitter, and thus played, not even half the game…he made 4-5 plate appearances a night, and that was it. But so what? The Designated Hitter, as stupid as it is, has been the rule for nearly fifty years now. Moreover, as Emma Baccellieri points out, do we ever keep a Hall of Fame-level hitter out of the Hall of Fame because he was atrocious on defense? No. I’ve literally never heard someone say, “Well he’s one of the greatest hitters to ever play his position, but he was such an awful defender. Defense counts, too, so he’s out.” By not being a negative on defense, Edgar helped his team on defense more than a terrible defender does. Edgar is close (70.4%) this year. I expect he’ll make it next year. -TOB

Source: Edgar Martínez Is A Hall-Of-Fame Baseball Player”, Emma Baccellieri, Deadspin (01/24/2018)

Presented Without Comment:

Video of the Week

PAL Song of the Week: Justin Timberlake, ft. Chris Stapleton – “Say Something”

Tweet of the Week

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“People in this town are just now getting into Nirvana. I don’t have the heart to tell them what’s gonna happen to Kurt Cobain in 1994.”

-Tom Haverford

Week of January 19, 2018

My 2018 mantra. 

The Case for Organizational Stability

This is a really good article, exploring how two different NBA teams dealt differently with trade demands, and where they stand now. Last summer, two of the best NBA teams had their second best player come to the team and demand a trade. One of those teams gave in, making almost no effort to repair the issues leading to the demand. The other team refused and addressed the player’s concerns. A look at where those teams and players are now is a fascinating look at how to handle an unhappy player.

The latter, the San Antonio Spurs, told LaMarcus Aldridge, “Nah.” Well, they told him they’d trade him if they could get a player like Kevin Durant in return. Which…lolololol. Instead, Aldridge and coach Greg Popovich met over dinner and wine a number of times. They discussed the issues. Popovich realized he was a big part of the problem – Aldridge has been in the league for a long time, playing at a high level, and Pop was trying to force his square peg into a round hole. Aldridge’s play is much improved this year, putting up the best numbers since his apex in Portland.

The former, the Cleveland Cavaliers, traded Kyrie Irving. Owner Dan Gilbert made no effort to change Irving’s mind, and traded him a short time later without ever talking to Irving again. Irving, finally out of LeBron’s shadow, is excelling in Boston. The Cavs are stuck in a roller coaster season. They just got Isaiah Thomas, the centerpiece of the return they received from the Celtics, back from a pre-existing injury. The team is having trouble integrating their new, ball-dominant point guard. It’s hard to imagine the team is not wishing they had a do-over.

This isn’t really surprising. The Spurs have been fantastic for decades, and continue to be very good even after Tim Duncan’s retirement. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, for years have been buoyed only by the greatest talent in NBA history, in spite of the terrible ownership and management around him. It’s good to be the King, but I have to imagine LeBron looks at what Irving is doing in Boston and is really frustrated. -TOB

Source: How Cavs, Spurs Handled Trade Demands by Stars is Worlds Apart”, Brian Windhorst, ESPN (01/16/2018)

PAL: Agreed – solid story. Having said that, Pop is respected and in charge. As the owner, Gilbert is in charge, but all decisions are made with only one consideration: LeBron James. It’s the only logical approach for the Cavs. He is truly a force unto himself, but here’s an instance where that might not be a good thing.

Protecting Larry Nassar

By now you’ve likely heard of Larry Nassar. He was the doctor who sexually abused hundreds young female gymnasts while serving as a physician at gymnastics clubs, Michigan State, and the Olympic team. He did all of this under the guise of medical treatment. It’s a disgusting, twisted, tragic story. A hard read, to be sure, but you really should read the link below.

As we learned with the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State and the Catholic church scandals, for atrocities like decades of sexual assault to take place there must also exist a culture of enablement. A different culture where the athletes/children’s wellbeing is first doesn’t change monsters like Sandusky or Nassar, but they certainly aren’t allowed to continue irrevocably damaging lives for decades.

Understanding how Nassar gained unfettered access to young girls and young women over the course of a quarter-century — despite repeated warning signs — means confronting an uncomfortable truth: He didn’t gain that access alone. Nassar was surrounded by a collection of adults who enabled his predatory behavior — a group that included coaches of club, collegiate and elite-level gymnasts, the USA Gymnastics organization, medical professionals, administrators and coaches at Michigan State University, and gymnasts’ parents, whom he groomed just as effectively as those he violated. Now that so much of the Nassar tragedy has been exposed, a lingering question remains: Were each of those enablers complicit or simply conned by a man described as a master manipulator?

As you will read in this story, the amount of times that girls and women had the courage to speak up about Nassar – truly believing doing so would put their gymnastic dreams at risk – only to be ignored or accused of outright lying is staggering. And then there are the women who were victim to his abuse at such a young age that they didn’t even know enough to know what he was doing was wrong.

Michigan State University allowed him to continue to treat athletes, and allow intravaginal treatments while under criminal investigation for sexual assault. “At least” 12 women have accused him of sexual assault during that time period.

USA Gymnastics also didn’t want to address the accusations around Nassar. The timing wasn’t good for them, as the Summer Games in Rio were fast-approaching. According to a mother of a gymnast who accused Nasser of abuse, the president of USAG, Steve Penny, called her and told her, “We need to keep this quiet.”

Gina Nichols says Penny repeated his initial request for discretion in several conversations over the ensuing months, requests that struck her, an operating room nurse, and her husband John, a physician, as odd. Penny, Gina Nichols says, put them in an impossible situation and “was in a position of authority over me and my husband. Our whole family gave up everything so we could put [Maggie] on this road.”

As medical professionals, the Nichols are both required by law to immediately report suspected child sex abuse to authorities, but, out of concern they would hurt their daughter’s future in the sport — and because they had been told Nassar had already been reported and any action on their part might jeopardize the investigation — they remained silent.

Sadly, parents like the Nichols played a role in enabling the abuse to continue. Many of them were friends with Nassar, and would drop their children off for treatments. It was a point of pride – their daughters were being treated by the physician treating Olympians. For some, they never knew what was going on, but others simply wouldn’t believe their daughters when they told their parents what was taking place.

Of all the terrible stories, this was the hardest one for me to read:

Stephens, whose father did not believe that she had been abused, says the fact she refused to apologize to Nassar was a constant subject in what had become a contentious relationship with her father. She says he branded her as a liar. Her father suffered from chronic debilitating physical pain throughout much of her life, and she says the cocktail of drugs he was prescribed to manage that affected his mental well-being.

A month before she left for college in 2010, she decided it was time to try again to tell her father that Nassar had assaulted her.

“I wasn’t lying,” she remembers telling him, before his hand shot out and pinned her neck to the chair where she was sitting. “Then he said — well, he growled, ‘What did you say?’ I gasped, ‘I wasn’t lying.’ He said it again. I was basically choking, and I said, ‘I. Was. Not. Lying.’ He just crumpled. You could see his face just completely shatter, like, ‘Holy shit, this 18-year-old doesn’t have any reason to stick to that story at this point.’ He just sat on the couch and just stared into space for a while.”

On March 30, 2016, he died by suicide.

Again, this is a hard read, but it’s important for obvious reasons. It’s also a reminder of the kind of quality reporting can be done when enough attention is given to a story. – PAL

Source: Nassar surrounded by adults who enabled his predatory behavior”, John Barr & Dan Murphy, ESPN (1/16/18)

How Big of an Asterisk Do You Got?

This is one of those instances when I’m not sure what’s better: the story or the subtext. Fresh off the Minneapolis Miracle (see video below), the Minnesota Vikings are one single win against a backup QB away from being the first team to host the Super Bowl.

The usual rule with regards to ticket allocation is the following:

  • 17.5% to NFC team season ticket holders
  • 17.5% to AFC team season ticket holders
  • 5% to host team ticket holders (in this instance, that would also be the Vikings)
  • The rest is divvied up amongst NFL sponsors, “auxiliary press”, and – you know – rich people with connections.

If the Vikings win against Philly, they would split that 5% with the AFC team, meaning both teams would have ~20% of the capacity seating. At US Bank Stadium, that breaks down to a little over 13K seats that season ticket holders, picked by random drawing (please), can have the opportunity to purchase for $950.

Nearly 40K of the 66,655 of the seats will be held for the sponsors and whatever the hell “auxiliary press” means. I knew sponsors get a good chunk of the tickets, but I didn’t know it was that high.

OK, so this story amounts to an interesting factoid, but the subtext here is fantastic. While the comments are pretty mellow, I can just feel Vikings fans gripping while reading this story. Do I mention the story to a friend? Does the mention of it jinx the entire thing? If I win the drawing do I go, or do I sell the tickets, and what does that say about my fandom? Life is about the experiences!…but 8K sure would help out right about now.  

I promise you all of these scenarios are racing through every Minnesota fan’s mind. 

By the way, the photo up top has nothing to do with this story. I had to share what appears to be the dumbest collection of tattoos this side of Arnoldisdead- (yes, that’s real). An NFL shield, the classic barbed wire, the Vikings head, “Freak” in with an old English font, and what appears to be a Cowboys star.  – PAL

Source: If The Vikings reach Super Bowl season ticket-holders find out Monday if they can buy tickets”, Ben Goessling, Star Tribune (1/17/18)

This Is Not a Political Story

But it sure is funny. As you might know, Donald Trump’s doctor released a few details from his annual check-up. Among them, Trump is listed at 6’3, 237 pounds. As the article points out, Trump claims to be a great athlete: “I was always the best athlete, people don’t know that.” Totally, Don. Dan Gartland helpfully puts Trump’s stats into context, comparing him to professional athletes of similar proportion. A sampling:

That Trump, what a great athlete. h/t Michael Kapp -TOB

Source: “Athletes Who Are the Same Size as Donald Trump”, Dan Gartland, Sports Illustrated (01/16/2018)

PAL: Love this. Humor me: what would your reaction be if a friend told you, “I was always the best athlete, people don’t know that.” I’ll answer on your behalf: You would scoff, then tell him to shut the hell up, and then never completely trust his opinion from that moment until the day you die.

Also, there is no friggin’ way he’s 237. Not a chance in hell. 267 maybe, but not 237.

Videos of the Week: 

PAL’s Song of the Week: Sean Rowe – “Newton’s Cradle” (c/o Jamie Morganstern)

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I thought about getting a tattoo on my back as well at one point. I was thinking about getting ‘Back to the Future’. ‘Back’ because it’s on my back. And ‘Future’ because I’m the kinda guy who likes to look ahead, into the future. I just think a tattoo should mean something, you know? And it’s my second favorite movie.


Week of January 12, 2018

When your new boss pays you $100 million, you use his barber.

Tonya Harding Was This Close To Being A Real Life Rocky

Funny story: A few weeks ago Natalie and I were having dinner with a couple friends and Tonya Harding’s name came up. Our friends chuckled. Natalie asked, “Wait, who’s Tonya Harding?”

If you ever wanted to know the difference between being 28 years old and 35 years old today – Natalie’s question is as precise an indicator as you’re ever going to find.

For those of you older than Natalie, I don’t need to tell you who Harding is (and for the young folk, here’s the gist of the story). The feature film I, Tonya, released back in December (I haven’t seen it yet) profiles the person at the center of the most famous Olympic scandal, so it makes sense for Taffy Brodesser-Akner to meet up with Harding 23 years later. I like how she went about a profile about a person who is trying to leave her past behind while still clearly bitter about her past.

Let’s start with the name. Tonya Price. She recently married and took her husband’s name. For a serious reporter, Bodesser-Akner has to be accurate. Her name is Tonya Price, and so she really should refer to the skater by her current name. But this is a story about Tonya Harding. Tonya Price is also Tonya Harding. It turns out the name confusion is actually a perfect metaphor. “This is basically how this entire story goes,” Bodesser-Akner writes. “There are facts, and then there is the truth, and you can’t let one get in the way of the other or you’ll never understand what she’s trying to tell you.”

Price/Harding goes on to tell her version of the Tonya Harding story, and it’s a grim one. This lady did not have it easy. A very poor, abused, tiny, but powerful skater trying to upend a sport that essentially judges on feminine grace. But for perhaps a broken skate lace, Harding might very well have won gold, and all of a sudden hers is added to the pantheon of great american underdog stories. Rose up from nothing to win a gold medal in a stodgy, beauty pageant sport of figure skating. However, the lace did break, and she was found guilty of not reporting that she knew who did the deed on Kerrigan’s knee (Price still insists she only knew after the assault). The underdog story vanishes, all the scrapping and grinding – all those values we love to associate as somehow uniquely American – they will never be associated with Harding.

Over drinks in Washington, Bodesser-Akner wants to hear Price’s version of the story, and she gets it. The writer’s final take:

Here’s the thing: A lot of what she said wasn’t true. She contradicted herself endlessly. But she reminded me of other people I’ve known who have survived trauma and abuse, and who tell their stories again and again to explain what had happened to them but also to process it themselves. The things she said that were false — they were spiritually true, meaning they made her point, and she seemed to believe them.

…Here is something I’ll never understand, that you can be sitting across the table from someone who certainly did something bad, who appears to show no remorse for it and you can still feel the oxytocin rush of love and sympathy for her.

Interesting read, especially for us over the age of 28. – PAL

Source: Tonya Harding Would Like Her Apology Now, Taffy Bodesser-Akner, The New York Times (01/10/2018)

TOB: Longtime readers of the blog will not be surprised that I rooted for Tonya Harding over Nancy Kerrigan. At 12 years old, I didn’t even know the emotional and physical abuse she endured – I just saw the crap she took from the sports media and was drawn to her as the underdog. After the attack I was lukewarm, but still didn’t like Kerrigan. I felt vindicated when her infamous Disney World video surfaced.

This was your darling, America!

Anyways, I watched the 30 for 30 documentary about the whole thing, and it was pretty sad. I read this article, and it’s also sad. Tonya Harding/Price has certainly been treated unfairly, and poorly, by many people in her life. But as Phil notes, she’s unable to move on. I haven’t seen I, Tonya yet, but I am happy that Tonya liked it, and felt her story of abuse was finally told, even if others see the movie in another light.

Bill Simmons Should Retire

This morning, Bill Simmons posted his thought on last Friday’s Seth Wickersham article on the reported inner-turmoil with the New England Patriots. Simmons’ take is bad. It was so bad that I postponed our post and quickly wrote this up. As he did on his podcast, Simmons argues that many points in the Wickersham story shouldn’t be believed because they were “denied”. Oh, ok. The principals of a big story deny the veracity of the details and therefore the story is necessarily false? I take biggest issue with the following, though:

 I know someone who spent time with Kraft last weekend; Kraft was more dumbfounded by the story than anything.

We couldn’t afford to keep both of them, Kraft kept saying. Why is this so hard to understand?

Let’s unpack this. First, Simmons uses an unnamed source, something he complains about in Wickersham’s article. In the same moment, he attempts to use his connections to give himself some authority. Then he quotes Kraft, without actually quoting him, and uses this “quote” to refute the report that Kraft ordered Belichick to trade Garoppolo. But does it, really? All that it actually says is Kraft was dumbfounded because they couldn’t keep both of them, and why can’t people understand that. How does that refute that Kraft was involved in a personnel decision? Doesn’t it more likely support Wickersham’s report? Other reports say Garoppolo was offered a large extension. If Belichick is in charge of player personnel decisions, that means he made the extension offer to Garoppolo. But if Kraft said they couldn’t afford both Brady and Garoppolo, then doesn’t it follow that Kraft vetoed Belichick’s attempt to keep both of them, and Kraft ordered the trade?

Simmons also draws a terrible comparison to Kraft allowing Belichick to bench his “beloved” Drew Bledsoe in favor of 6th round pick Tom Brady, and allowing Belichick to release or trade other players, like Jamie Collins. That comparison is laughable. First, Bledsoe got hurt, and wasn’t available until the playoffs, and by that time they were on a roll with Brady. Second, Bledsoe never won a Super Bowl. Brady has won five. You think Kraft felt the same loyalty to Bledsoe as he does to Brady? No. Kraft has said Brady is like a son to him. Brady has said Kraft is like a second father. You think Brady is like Jamie Collins, Simmons? Get outta here, man. Seriously, it’s time to retire from writing. You’re rich and lazy. Your writing is lazy and dumb. You’re so far from objective that it’s painful. -TOB

Source: The Story That Tried to Divide Brady and Belichick“, Bill Simmons, The Ringer (01/12/2018)

Baseball: The (Potentially) Neverending Story

One of the greatest things about baseball is that you can never run out of time. You can and will run out of chances, if you don’t make good on them, but you can never say, “Geeze, things might have been different if we had more time.” 27 outs. That’s what you get. That’s what the other team gets. Theoretically, a baseball game could go on forever. A team could simply never make 27 outs. But there’s another way a baseball game could go on forever – extra innings. Again, theoretically, a baseball game could go on forever, as long as neither team leads after each complete inning after the ninth. It’s sort of wild when you think about it, and that brings us to this great Sam Miller article.

Sam opens the article by invoking the great Eli Cash:

On Sept. 5, Hanley Ramirez flared an 0-2 fastball into shallow center field. Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar charged in but couldn’t catch the ball, and Mookie Betts — who took off almost on contact — raced home from second to score. With that bloop single, Ramirez and the Boston Red Sox won the longest game of the 2017 season, after 19 innings, 544 pitches and exactly six hours of play.

What this article presupposes is: What if they didn’t?

What follows is an excellent exploration of the stages players, and fans, would go through if a baseball game went 50 innings. My only issue is this – the game he chooses to piggyback off of is a regular season game. Though it had some playoff implications, it’s still just 1 of 162 games. What I want to know is how MLB, and the networks, would react if a playoff game went that long. In the regular season, the players, managers, and even the league may eventually decide to call it a night and come back the next day. But in the playoffs? In the World Series? In a Game 7? What do they do?

In Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS, the Giants and Nationals played 18 innings, in a game in D.C. It was a day game (well, it was day here), and Phil and I watched the game at McTeague’s, a bar here in SF where we watched most of the Giants’ 2012 and 2014 playoff runs. I’ll never forget the bewildering and disorienting feeling walking out of the bar after the game and realizing it was still daylight. I’ll also never forget the intensity of every single pitch in the bottom half of innings 10 through 18. With one swing, the game could end.

MLB was lucky it was not a later game. Many MLB playoff games begin at 7pm, even 8pm EST. That game lasted 6 hours and 23 minutes, and it was on a weekend. Imagine it was a Tuesday night, and began at 8pm EST – it would have ended at almost 3 am. What would MLB do in that case? What would they do if it went another 6 innings? Miller’s article points out that, unlike in prior eras, MLB no longer has a curfew. The current record holder for longest MLB game in the modern era is a 1984 game between the Brewers and White Sox, but that game was paused due to curfew, and later resumed. Would MLB stop a playoff game and resume it later?

And what of the long lasting effect on the clubs? In a playoff series, it would almost certainly be a pyrrhic victory. You might win that game, and even the series but it’s going to so thoroughly screw up your bullpen and your rotation going forward that you’d have no shot in later rounds (of course if this happened in the World Series, there’s no such concern).

The other interesting aspect of this is the long term effect of the players themselves. Miller invokes what he calls the Something Important phase of an extremely long game. The Something Important phase is where fans and players realize that history is in the making (which I buy wholeheartedly, after having sat through that 18-inning Giants game mentioned above – very few things could have dragged me away). Miller discusses a college baseball game from 2009 between Texas and Boston College. It went 25 innings. Texas’ closer threw thirteen innings of shutout ball. As Miller relates:

Around the 15th or 16th inning, Austin Wood, Texas’ senior closer, was approaching 100 pitches of no-hit relief. He approached head coach Augie Garrido: “Don’t you even think about taking me out of this game.” He would end up throwing 13 scoreless innings in relief, 169 pitches, a performance that can only happen if the limits of the game get so badly extended that unthinkable possibilities can fit within them.

“When a player breaks through to that level, it changes his life,” Garrido said at the time. “… Now he knows something not many people know: You really can be anything you choose to be. … And if he gets a sore arm in the next 10 years, it’ll be my fault.”

And, was Wood’s career affected? You betcha.

“His professional career ended three years later, after shoulder injuries, and plenty of people think Garrido’s decision was unforgivable. Wood has defended Garrido, first by saying there was no connection between that game and his injuries, but ultimately concluding that it doesn’t matter if there was a connection: “If you offered me anything in the world, I don’t think I would trade it for the experience of playing in that game,” Wood told the Austin American-Statesman later. “It was that meaningful.”

Man. It’s hard to understand that statement. We don’t know that this game cost Wood his career. But he essentially says even if it did, he’d do it over again. 13 innings and 169 pitches are worth an entire MLB career? I wonder if he’d say the same thing had Texas lost.

Anyways, go read the article. It’s fantastic. -TOB

Source: What Would Happen if a Baseball Game Went 50 Innings?”, Sam Miller, ESPN.com (01/09/2017)

PAL: Such a fun read, folks. TOB nails the summary above, but one other comparison Miller provides is that of endurance dancing. It was a brief craze in the 1920s, and after watching some video on it, I concur with Miller: it’s the most miserable thing I’ve ever watched.

Also, TOB and I did not watch this game together (but we watched most of them at McTeague’s). I actually heard the Belt homer on the radio while sitting on a porch. Kind of cool to experience the greatest of baseball feats (game-winning playoff homer) over the radio. Thought the connected backyards, you could hear the neighbors all but jump up when he hit it, then lose it when it went over the fence.

Please Don’t Speak Ill of Canadians, Eh.

This is so damn funny. Some San Jose Sharks players were asked to name their least favorite road trip. Tomas Hertl, Justin Braun and Tim Heed all named Winnipeg, citing the fact that it’s cold, it’s dark, and the hotel wifi is slow. Honestly, that’s pretty inoffensive. Well, the prideful city of Winnipeg disagrees. The CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg was trotted out to correct these Sharks:

Spiring also noted the Sharks players have their facts wrong. Winnipeg is actually the second most sunny city in Canada with an annual average of 2,353 hours of sunshine, just below Calgary at 2,396.

As for temperatures, Braun’s home city of Minneapolis is much the same as Winnipeg.

Winnipeg’s average temperatures range between –12 C in the winter months to 26 C in summer. Minneapolis has an average of –9.1 C to 23.2 C.

Hertl is from Prague in the Czech Republic, where the temperature range is –3 C to 25 C. And Heed’s home of Gothenburg, Sweden, where winter temperatures average –3 to 3 C and summer temps average around 20 C.

That’s super funny. But, I’ll allow the retort so long as it ends there. Oh, no sir. It will not end there. Winnipeg Jets coach John Hockeyguy stepped in to give the Sharks a little whatfor.

The coach began by noting he hadn’t heard the comments. Perhaps a reason not to comment? Nah. Where’s the fun in that? Coach Hockeyguy then proceeds to lecture the Sharks players, and every player in the NHL, about how petty it is to whine about the cold and the dark and the slow wi-fi, when by god, they’ve got a good life.

#FirstWorldProblems, am I right? -TOB

Source: The Winnipeg Kerfluffle Has Reached Dangerously Canadian Levels”, Barry Petchesky, Deadspin (01/09/2018)

PAL: I love when coaches insist they “didn’t read” the story on which they’re being asked to comment. They usually make it about 1.5 sentence before they can’t contain themselves, and they take a “where are we at in the world today” stance. Guys, you aren’t generals in a war. You’re not giving away strategic positioning. You tell extremely talented athletes when to go in the game and when to come out of the game. No one will think less of you if you admit that you’re keeping tabs on the insignificant details.

Real Worms Vs Fake Worms

This article crystalized what we’ve known for years: sports stories can be – and oftentimes are – created out of nothing. The qualifications to what makes a sports story newsworthy have become blurry at best. Most of our news is provided by companies that earn large chunks of their revenue from advertising. Advertisers want eyeballs and clicks-thrus, and stories that generated the most clicks will be reported and posted – newsworthy or not.

This is why you know LaVar Ball, father of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. LaVar drives clicks and eyeballs. He says crazy things in a bombastic tone. Like this:

This was not the first time LaVar said that. But let’s be honest, sports dads say some pretty absurd stuff, they just aren’t sitting on a TV set while saying it. He’s a dad. Dads are more or less crazy about their kids’ sports (TOB: Careful…). A dad’s commentary about his son’s basketball abilities hardly seems like news. But ESPN helped make it one, and they’ve done this before.

A few years back, our old pal John Koblin wrote a piece for this here website about ESPN manufacturing a sports story out of thin air. It began, in that case, with ESPN football pundit Ron Jaworski issuing the empty but hot-sounding statement “I truly believe Colin Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever” (my, how times have changed!); other ESPN properties treated this statement as news and other ESPN pundits reacted to it, leading eventually to Kaepernick (then with the San Francisco 49ers and not yet famous for kneeling during the national anthem) being asked to comment on it, and ESPN treating his comments both as newsworthy in and of themselves and also as the basis for the weird meta-story that an ESPN employee (Jaworski) had said something controversial. The playbook for this sort of thing goes back farther than that, as Koblin noted—at least as far back as when the network staged its own phony intramural culture war over Tim Tebow and sustained, for whole entire years, the entirely fictional story that either Tebow’s football ability or his performative religiosity were matters of genuine controversy anywhere outside the folie à deux between ESPN and its own viewership.

On and on we go. ESPN’s take on vertical integration.

LaVar Ball is not new. He’s just the soup du jour, and we say, ‘Mmmm. That sounds good. I’ll have that.’ Here’s the playbook tailored to the Ball family. Note: LiAngelo just left UCLA (he was a freshman), and LaMelo was a junior in high school.

An ESPN reporter seeks out—in Lithuania!—a noted blowhard and wrings a controversial take out of him (despite the blowhard’s best efforts to temper and walk back that take pretty much as it is leaving his mouth). ESPN spends the following days performing air-raid drills behind it, spawning a succession of follow-ons: Lonzo Ball is asked to, in essence, choose between his coach and his dad, and his tepid choice of athlete-interview boilerplate itself becomes a story; hysterical NBA coach’s union president Rick Carlisle says ESPN has betrayed its covenant with the doofuses who donate ten seconds of distracted “gotta get stops” talk to its between-quarters interviews, and that’s a story; Steve Kerr has takes about ESPN devoting multiple reporters to the LaVar Ball Beat when it has laid off talented people who do actual smart work, and that’s a story. Walton cracks a joke about it in a postgame presser, and that’s a story.

Why is ESPN bankrolling this and shoving LaVar Ball in our face, day after day after day? We click on it. We watch their First Take segments, then listen to their podcasts that comment on the First Take segment, and…hell, I’m writing about this non-story at this very moment. The non-story is now a story about whether or not it’s a worthy story. It’s not like they have the choice to run highlights all day (we don’t use ESPN for that anymore). 

For a company that’s gone through two rounds of layoffs in the past year or so they are fishing for the clicks. Instead of digging for worms, ESPN has been manufacturing plastic ones for years now. LaVar Ball will go away just as soon as he stops landing us fish. – PAL

Source: “ESPN: It’s Bad That We Keep Squeezing Juicy Quotes Out Of LaVar Ball”, Albert Burneko, Deadspin (01/10/2018)

TOB: Yes, thank you. It’s time we please stop the anti-Lavar backlash. ESPN is the problem! And here it is in a nutshell:

The Lakers have a problem now, in ESPN’s formulation. ESPN reporters think the Lakers must do a better job of preventing LaVar Ball from making, to ESPN reporters who follow him to Lithuania, stick a microphone in his face, and ask him for his opinions on issues related to his famous sons, statements that those ESPN reporters may then parse for their most incendiary content and package as inflammatory on ESPN’s various platforms.

Video of the Week

PAL Song of the Week – The Fugees – “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (Roberta Flack)

Tweet of the Week

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Anybody who’s ever had the privilege of seeing me play knows that I am the greatest pitcher in the world.

-Dizzy Dean

Week of January 5, 2018

We’re #1, Too!

In our December 8 post, we argued whether or not the NCAA football playoff should be expanded to eight teams, which would include automatic bids for the 5 power conferences (Pac 12, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, ACC), and 3 at-large bids. Any team from a non-power conference in ranked the top 15 gets a bid. This year’s non-power conference team would have been UCF. TOB was for it. I was against it. My argument:

I’m sorry, but that schedule (UCF’s) in no way holds up to USC’s schedule this year (ending the regular season ranked 8th), or any a Power 5 conference schedule. I find it highly, highly unlikely UCF would have gone undefeated playing in the Pac-12, and I highly doubt they lose 2 or fewer games in the Pac-12. They played 2 teams in the top 25, and 4 teams ranked outside of the top 100! We try to make the case for the little guy, but the little guy has to play real games (I know this is hard due to scheduling being done so far in advance).

Well, UCF did play a big boy in its bowl game, beating Auburn 34-27 (Auburn lost to Georgia in the SEC championship) to complete an undefeated season (and USC wasn’t a good comparison choice on my part, as they got trounced by Ohio State 24-7 in the Cotton Bowl). So I was wrong about UCF this year. I’m still not convinced that an 8-team playoff is better, but I was wrong about UCF, the only undefeated FBS team in 2017.

They won’t play for a national championship, but that’s not stopping UCF from claiming one. Here’s what the school’s A.D., Danny White had to say on the subject:

“If you take the long view of the history of college football, there’s an awful lot of national championships being claimed by universities that didn’t accomplish what we accomplished this year in those respective seasons, so we feel we’re more than justified to claim our first national championship, and we think it’ll be the first of many,” White told ESPN. “I don’t think our kids should be penalized because we weren’t respected by the College Football Playoff committee, nor should our program be penalized because we weren’t around 20 or 30 years ago when people were claiming national championships left and right.

“We’re trying to build our program, and we feel very strongly as the only undefeated team and having beat Auburn, who beat both teams competing for the national championship, that we have an extremely sound case to claim the crown.”

What’s he referring to when he says, “I don’t think our kids should be penalized because we weren’t around 20 or 30 years ago when people were claiming national championships left and right”, you might ask. Well, just that. There was no singular mechanism to award a national title for 130 years in college football.

In fact, there are a lot of ignored polls out there, and all UCF has to do in order to meet the standards other schools have used to justify a national championship is to show up #1 in a single poll. Sounds shady? It is, but the big boys have been doing this for some time now.

  • Minnesota, Texas A&M (2), USC, and Oklahoma State claimed titles decades after the season in question in an era before polls existed. Someone ran the numbers and said they were the best. Good enough. Hang two more banners, Aggies (1919, 1927)
  • Tennessee (3), Oklahoma, Minnesota (again, Gophers?), Alabama (2) claimed titles decades after the season based on rankings that did not take into account bowl games, which all of these teams lost!
  • Ohio State and USC claimed a title in a year in which the real winner vacated the championship due to violations.

While it seemed funny at first, I am now completely on board with UCF claiming a 2017 national championship. Not only are the celebrating it with a parade, but all of the coaches are receiving a national championship bonus…a nice parting gift as they all follow head coach Scott Frost to Nebraska. – PAL

Source: “If Power 5 teams can claim these 24 dubious national titles, 2017 UCF can do whatever the hell it wants”, Jason Kirk, SB Nation (1/3/18); “UCF to celebrate perfect season with national title banner, parade”, Andrea Adelson, ESPN (1/4/18)

TOB: I have to admit, I gleefully informed Phil of UCF’s win on New Years’ Day. And one thing I’d like to point out in UCF’s claim to a National Title, that Phil left out: As Phil mentioned, UCF  beat Auburn, who lost in the SEC title game to Georgia. Georgia plays Monday night in the National Title game. Their opponent? Alabama. The week before Auburn lost to Georgia? They trounced Alabama, 26-14. So, UCF beat the team that (very recently) beat the team that very well may win the national title. Transitive property does not strictly work in sports, but it can certainly lend some credibility for the fact that UCF deserved consideration for the playoff. And I believe Scott Frost, UCF’s coach (well, he is now the coach at Nebraska, where he played) who says the playoff committee made a “conscious effort’ to suppress UCF’s rankings throughout the season, to make sure they wouldn’t be close to the top 4 in the last weeks of the season, in case of upsets.

Go to Hell, Bruce Arena

I am still extremely bitter about the U.S. missing this year’s World Cup, and that bitterness will only grow as the tournament draws near. But this article sent me into orbit. Jonathan González is an 18-year old from Santa Rosa, California. He’s one of the better players in the U.S. Soccer youth system, and this season emerged as one of the best players in all of Mexico’s top league, Liga MX. He has a bright future, to go along with some other very good young Americans. But the team failing to qualify for the World Cup could cause USMNT to lose González to Mexico’s national team, El Tri. González is eligible to play for Mexico, through his parents, and though he has played for U.S. youth teams since he was 13, FIFA rules mandate a player is not tied to a national team until he plays for the senior team in a competitive game. You can probably see where this is going – because the U.S. did not make the World Cup, Mexico is trying to woo González to play for them in a friendly on January 31, which would forever bind him to El Tri, and potentially allow him to play in this summer’s World Cup – an enticement the U.S. cannot offer. González could go from this:

Excited to play for USMNT!

To this:

Not excited to play for USMNT.

Compounding matters, though, is the fact the U.S. had a friendly last November against Portugal, and while the team could have played González, binding him to the U.S. forever, they didn’t. In fact, they didn’t even try. Says, González:

“I wasn’t called in, in November. Personally, nobody came and talked to me and let me know about that friendly. I just wasn’t called in.”

BRILLIANT, GUYS. Now one of the U.S. team’s best and brightest may play for Mexico, where he’s lived since he was 14, and help kick our ass for the next decade. Cool, cool. -TOB

Source: Mexico Set to Test Waters With U.S. Youth Jonathan Gonzalez”, Tom Marshall, ESPN.com (01/04/2018)

PAL: The only question is why wouldn’t González elect to play for Mexico at this point?

Less Than 5%

One of the more enjoyable baseball conversations is remembering players other than the all-time greats. Gary Gaetti was never getting into the Hall of Fame, but in my mind he was a lock-down third baseman that could yank a homer in a big situation for the Twins. History will remember Barry Zito’s massive contract with the Giants, but I’ll never forget his 7 ⅔ shutout performance against the Cardinals with the Giants down three games to one in the NLCS. Sports history is for the masses and future generations, while memories are for the fans.

With that in mind, I really enjoyed scrolling through Jay Jaffe’s SI write up of players on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot who are never going to get in. Most will likely not earn the required 5% of votes needed to stay on the ballot next year.

Chris Carpenter

Jaffe’s summary: “A lanky, 6′ 6″ righty who played a vital part on three St. Louis pennant winners and two world champions and won a Cy Young award as well, Chris Carpenter had seasons where he ranked among the game’s best pitchers. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay healthy, but he might be the only pitcher who battled back from labrum surgery, Tommy John surgery and surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome (to say nothing of the bone spurs and multiple nerve injuries he also endured).”

My memory: I feel like this was one of the guys the announcers would say how awesome he was before a playoff game, but I never saw him dominate a big game. Never scared me.

Livan Hernandez

Jaffe’s summary: Awesome for a moment with the Marlins, underperformed thereafter.

My memory: Now this is a guy that would scare me in the playoffs for longer than he should have. That playoff run with the ‘97 Marlins (4-0, 3 starts, 2 relief appearances, NLCS & World Series MVP). Never seemed phased, which made me think he was capable of a gem.

…oh my god, the ump was giving him anything close to the plate!

Brad Lidge

Jaffe’s summary:  Devastating slider (which he learned in the minors and it instantly became his ticket to the bigs. Massive K per 9 innings number.

My memory:

Never seen a ball hit harder. I thought I saw a closer’s career end with that swing, which was not the case. Lidge made a comeback with the Phillies in their 2008 World Series, and he dominated in that playoff run.

A fun little read on the subject of the Hall of Fame that has nothing to do with steroids. Also, how cool would it be just to have your name on a hall of fame ballot? – PAL

Source: One-and-Dones, Part 1”, Jay Jaffe, Sports Illustrated (12/26/17)

TOB: Man, this is great. There are part 2 and part 3, by the way.

Jamie Moyer

Jaffe’s Summary: “One of the majors’ great stories of survival and persistence, Jamie Moyer was the epitome of the ageless, crafty lefty. Moyer spent 25 seasons in the majors between 1986 and 2012, with eight different teams, peaking in his age 34–40 seasons with the Mariners and pitching until he was 49 years old. He’s the oldest pitcher ever to start multiple games in a season.”

My memory: Look, I know he wasn’t the greatest pitcher of his generation, but if a guy who was that friggin good until nearly FIFTY (FIFTY!), then what are we even doing? Especially late in his career, every time your team faced him you thought, “The smoke and mirrors have to fall apart NOW.” And then he’d throw 7 innings of 4-hit, 1-run ball. I was so excited when he retired. Put him in the Freakish Ageless Wonders wing of the Hall.

Kerry Wood

Jaffe’s Summary: Few pitchers in recent baseball history have had as much hope invested in them as Kerry Wood, who took the majors by storm in 1998, riding a fastball that could reach 100 mph to a record-tying 20-strikeout performance in just his fifth major league start. Even after enduring Tommy John surgery a year later, Wood—in tandem with fellow first-round pick Mark Prior—was viewed as a pitcher who could lead the Cubs to their long-sought championship. Bad luck and injuries prevented him from doing so, and while his perseverance helped him carve out a 14-year career, he’s one for the Hall of What Might Have Been.

My memory:

Dude really threw a 20-K, 1-hit game against a lineup featuring Hall of Famers Bagwell and Biggio, along with Very Goods Derek Bell, Moises Alou, and Brad Ausmus. Again, I know the amassed numbers are not there, due in this case to injury. But come on! When I take my kids to Cooperstown, I want to be able to show them Kerry Wood. I think baseball takes this too seriously, and considers it a personal honor, instead of a museum.

Aubrey Huff

Eff that guy. NEXT!

Hideki Matsui

Jaffe’s Summary: Just the second Japanese position player to become an All-Star—Ichiro Suzuki was the first—Hideki Matsui arrived stateside to much fanfare in 2003, accompanied by a memorable nickname (“Godzilla”) and a three-year, $21 million deal with the Yankees. He made the AL All-Star team in each of his first two seasons, helped the Bronx Bomber to a pair of pennants and a championship, and won World Series MVP honors in 2009 before departing for free agency. His 175 homers are the most of any Japanese-born player in MLB.

My memory: As a Yankee-hater, he was the most terrifying hitter to face in a big playoff moment (Career Postseason: .312 BA, .933 OPS; Career World Series: .389 BA, 1.213 OPS – I love when the stats bear out my memory). I know he’s not better than Ichiro, but he sure was scarier.

The Joy of the Unexpected Burn

I rarely write about the Sacramento Kings, because: they suck, they’ve sucked for a long time, that is frustrating, and I couldn’t even watch them if I wanted to because I don’t live in their local tv footprint, and because of time constraints. My fandom mostly lies dormant – cheering them on from afar, getting excited at the draft and during every offseason, and then being disappointed the minute the season starts. I’m just awaiting their return to glory. It has to happen at some point (right?).

So while I can’t watch them daily, I do follow the happenings of the team, mostly through box scores and Twitter. This week I noticed a headline on Twitter from Sactown Royalty, a Kings blog. It said: “George Hill: ‘It’s not what I expected’; Sounds like Hill chased the money and is regretting it.” Well, that intrigued me enough to click through. It was a fairly straightforward article – Hill gave quotes to the local paper recently expressing frustration with the team’s performance, his role, etc. Then, Greg Wissinger’s article looked back on Hill’s (rather surprising) decision last summer to sign with the team. And then Wissinger got to the end.

First, he quotes Hill:

“Whatever they ask me to do is fine,” Hill insists. “We’re trying to develop the young guys, get them on the court. You’re going to have bumps and bruises when you have so many young guys with only one year of experience or less. My thing is, when you play a team like the Spurs, learn to play the right way. They commit, they talk, they screen hard. They get into their man. Become better by learning.”

And then he adds some commentary of its own:

George Hill talks about how the Spurs play the right way. Hill would know. He spent his first three years with the Spurs, learning from their veterans. Veterans who taught him to play the right way, to commit, to talk, to screen hard, to get into their man. Veterans taught Hill, and he’s enjoyed a long and successful and lucrative NBA career because of it.

It would be nice if Hill realized his role is now to be that veteran.

BAH GOD! I did NOT see that snark coming. And I loved it – it’s a really good point. Instead of whining about how the young guys don’t know how to play the right way, why don’t you be this team’s Tim Duncan and show them, George. -TOB

Source: George Hill: ‘It’s Not What I Expected’; Sounds Like Hill Chased the Money and is Regretting It”, Greg Wissinger, Sactown Royalty (01/04/2018)

Video(s) of the Week:

Tweet of the Week

PAL Song of the Week: Radiohead – “Videotape”

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Strippers do nothing for me. I like a strong, salt of the earth self possessed woman at the top of her field. Your Steffi Graf’s, your Sheryl Swoopes’, but I will take a free breakfast buffet anytime any place.

– R.Swanson