Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Idiotic Sportswriting

Exhibit A.

This column is so stupid, it's difficult to know where to start. So in no particular order:

How on earth can Manny Ramirez and CC Sabathia be the TOP TWO choices for MVP in the National League? Sabathia was terrific, but he played in 17 total games. Brandon Webb had twice as many starts, and twice as many wins. How can Webb not be more valuable to his team?

The Manny selection is even worse. He was great, but he played in 53 games for the Dodgers--less than a third of the season! He cannot possibly be as valuable as someone who played the entire year.

Most ridiculously, the obvious winner, Pujols, is fifth (fifth!) on his ballot. Pujols had a far more dominant offensive year than Howard, even if Howard's (less important) homer and RBI numbers were better. Pujols also is a fantastic defensive player. Howard is not.

OBPSlugging HR RBI
Pujols.462.653 37 116
Howard.339.542 48 146

NL Cy Young
The foolishness continues. It's easy to plug Sabathia's numbers into yesterday's chart, although we have to add innings to the mix because a pitcher who pitches a lot of innings is significantly more valuable to his team than one who doesn't.


Sabathia had a great half season, but you don't win the pennant with half seasons. Anyone who votes for him over the other three should forfeit the right to vote for future awards.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cy Young

Well the Giants kept running Lincecum out there because they wanted to get him a Cy Young.

I think it was a mistake, but we won't know that until next year. For now, I think that Johan Santana has pitched his way into the discussion with 14 consecutive quality starts down the stretch.

I think it's close:

RecordERA Strikeouts
Webb22-73.30 183
Lincecum18-52.62 265
Santana16-72.53 206

Innings (226.2, 227, 234.1), complete games (3, 2, 3) and shutouts (1, 1, 2) are effectively indistinguishable.

I dunno. The problem here is that the guy with the most wins has the highest ERA. Webb shouldn't be in the discussion, based on ERA, but 22 wins is a lot of wins. I suppose I'd vote Webb, Lincecum, then Santana, but I wouldn't argue with any arrangement of them.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mike Mussina

Mike Mussina made the Hall of Fame today, when he won his 20th game of the season. You know it mattered to the Yankees because Mariano Rivera came on in the 8th.

Before the season I had by doubts about his chances. Having 20 wins stands out on his resume. More accurately, never having a 20 win season stood out on his resume. I don't think he's a first ballot kind of guy, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet that he makes it eventually.

Of course, this year isn't the end. He's now at 270 wins. I also doubted that he would ever get to 300 wins (which means certain enshrinement in the Hall). I don't think he can get there in two years, but if he stays healthy for three, I think he'll win 300 games easily.

More College Football

The column I mentioned on Thursday looks a little more silly today. Georgia and Florida join USC as one loss teams. Note that this will soon lead to a variety of columns saying that "The BCS got lucky" because all these teams lost.

No. It isn't luck. It's very rare for more than two teams from power conferences to go undefeated. It happened once since the old conference tie-ins were eliminated: in 2004 (USC, Oklahoma, Auburn). While possible, it's unlikely that more than two teams will go undefeated this year, at least more than two teams from power conferences. It's certainly premature to start complaining about it.

Friday, September 26, 2008


And sometimes criticizing sportswriters works out perfectly.

Of the six contributors to the premature BCS bashing, five assumed that USC would go undefeated (kudos to David Fox, who pointed out that USC loses a conference game or two every year).

As a sidenote, Oregon State? Huh? They were clobberedby Penn State three weeks ago.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dumb Sportswriting of the Day

Writing about college football is easy. Whenever you need a quick story, just bring up the BCS and complain about it.

But this is a good one. It's September and they are already hyping the possibility of too many undefeated teams! Guys, can we at least wait until conference play starts?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


After tonight's start (4.1 innings, 4 ER, raising his ERA to 2.66), I don't think The Franchise can win the Cy Young over Webb. They both can make one more start, but Webb already has 22 wins and Lincecum has just 17. He's now up to 220 innings. Last year he only pitched 146.

The Giants are mad if they let him make his final start. It would be really stupid. The risks are too high for no reward. He's had a great year. With his nine strikeouts tonight, he has 252 for the season, which gives him the Giants season record over Jason Schmidt. The Cy Young talk has been fun. But now the time to give up and get ready for next year.

Lincecum is maybe the most valuable pitcher in baseball right now. He's a young potential #1 starter, and the list of #1 starters under 30 includes Webb, Johan Santana, Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and not a lot of other pitchers.

But while Sabathia will be printing money in free agency the next few years, the Giants have a few years of Lincecum on the cheap.

As a sidenote, I feel the same way about Lester, who's just six months older than Lincecum. With the Sox clinching the postseason today, they should give him a short tuneup before the playoffs and that's it. Don't risk him; he has 204 innings this year and 63 last. He'll also have at least one start in the postseason.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

AL Race

The Sox are still chasing Tampa for first place. (Never thought I'd write *THAT* sentence)

Barring a huge collapse, which is still possible given the Sox pitching situation (no, I don't trust Bartolo Colon in the rotation), the postseason pairings are predictable. As of today, the Sox are 1.5 games behind the Rays and lead the wild card by 6.5 games over the Twins and 7.5 over the Blue Jays and Yankees.

The Angels will play the wild card team with the winner of the East against the winner of the Central (either the Chisox or the Twins). The Sox want to win the East because the Angels are such a nightmare.

The way things are going, though, the best thing the Sox can do is hope someone else beats up on Tampa (thanks, Minnesota), because they seem to have Boston's number.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Michigan-Notre Dame

I watched the first half of the game and some of the third quarter, before I (fortunately) had to leave to go to a wedding.

It was not, shall we say, a great game. Michigan fumbled the opening *TWO* kickoffs and was down 21-0 after about ten minutes.

However. I saw plenty of good things and I'm with mgoblog on feeling encouraged. Everyone knew this year was going to be ugly, but we made some progress. We found a quarterback and a tailback. Threet made some good throws and played well. Sam McGuffie looks like our tailback for the next several years, unless he gets hurt (he's a little guy, which makes me nervous).

On the other hand, our defense, supposed to be the strength of the team, was bad. And it's very, very important for our receivers to catch the ball on kickoffs.

Now Michigan has a bye week, which is what they need. Threet should spend it working with the first team offense and hopefully the team will also work on not fumbling.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Notre Dame

I don't like Notre Dame. Not at all. They were terrible last year and I laughed. Unfortunately, Michigan might just be that bad this year. I'm not sure this columnist was joking when he predicted a 3-0 Michigan win in five overtimes.

In the meantime, my fellow Michigan comrades posted an instructive interview with Charlie Weis.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

AL Cy Young

The standard answer on the American League Cy Young is the Cliff Lee has it sewn up. Which he probably does. A 21-2 record is ridiculous, and he leads the league with an ERA of 2.28.

Howeva. Roy Halladay. 18-9 ain't bad either, he's won his last five starts, and has eight complete games. Lee is ahead, but if he has a couple of bad starts and Halliday keeps pitching like this, he could lose it....

Yes, I'm ignoring Francisco Rodruiguez. Lee has more than triple the innings and a lower ERA. Game over.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Webb Slipping

As someone (Schlamp?) pointed out, Webb is in fact doing his best to lose the NL Cy Young.

Brandon Webb hasn't won a game since I first posted. In his last three ugly starts, his ERA's gone from 2.74 to 3.41. That ain't good. Maybe he's hurt.

The Franchise was knocked around last week too, but it was only one bad start. Tonight he got his 16th win, brought his ERA down to 2.54 and went 8.1 innings, moving ahead of Webb. It was Webb's to lose and he may be losing it.

There is a ridiculous CC Sabathia meme going around. He's having a great second half, but no one actually believes that he has a chance. It's just a way for sportswriters to generate some words.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Go Yankees (?)

I'm in the unfamiliar position of rooting for the Yankees, as they are playing in Tampa. The Sox are up seven games on New York and trail Tampa by four, but if they and the Yankees keep winning, the Sox can make a run at Tampa.

Is it tempting fate to say that the Yankees are out of it? Yes. And they're not completely out of it. But for them to get back into it, they'll have to pretty much sweep their remaining five games against Tampa.

That would make for a very interesting race indeed going down the stretch....

Monday, September 01, 2008


I was juuuust a little bit early on my prediction of when Maddux would pass Roger Clemens. July, September, what's the big difference?

He tied Clemens today with 354 wins, tied for eighth on the list.

Can he get seven more wins at move ahead of, uhhh, Pud Galvin and Kid Nichols? Depends on whether San Diego or the Dodgers needs him next year. I don't think he'll pitch anywhere else.

Ron English

Ron English was Michigan's defensive coordinator the last two years. He was there for the Very Good (2006) and The Not So Good (2007). I always liked him; I thought the brilliance of 2006 mostly outweighed 2007.

He was fired by Rich Rodriguez and landed at the University of Louisville, where things look good:

Was there anything to like? Yes. The Cardinal defense was spectacular. Listen to me -- it was spectacular. It held UK to 73 yards on the ground. Dixon's jaunt at the end was a gift, and not preventable given the degree to which the game had slipped at that moment. Ron English deserves a lot of credit for turning an unsure group into a physical unit that gave Hartline no good looks down the field, harassed him incessantly, and bottled up the Dixon/Locke combo before it could get started.

I'm happy he landed. He'll be a head coach some day. Maybe some day soon.