Friday, June 15, 2007

Oldie But A Goodie

I could watch this all day. Enjoy the weekend.

KSK = Geniuses

I generally don't do a lot of blog-on-blog ballwashing in this space, but the "gentle"men over at Kissing Suzy Kolber produce such good material that I feel the compelled to drop a short note about it. If you've never spent much time over there, you really should. It is not necessarily workplace safe nor is it for the faint of heart (i.e. pussies should not check it out) but it is exceptionally funny. The Rex Grossman stuff they did was probably the funniest blogwork in the past year (my favorite can be found here). But the reason for this particular post is to drop them some love for the Father's Day post they put up yesterday (it's actually archived from an earlier post). If you can make it through the entire post without laughing out loud, then you are either dead or stupid.

So I say, kudos to you KSK (and in particular Big Daddy Drew).

This Is The Sinbad Of Comedy Skits

If you can sit through the entire 3 minutes and 43 seconds of the video, I will give you a nickel.

You know things are going poorly when the Globe's Red Sox blog dubbed the above video "hilarious." I'm not sure I've seen anything so unfunny in all my life. The concept has the potential to be funny but simply repeating the same joke over and over again is not really that funny. If the above video were an SAT question, it would look like this:

The above video is to funny as the Ted Ginn is to ________
A. Healthy
B. A solid pick at 10
C. A major contributor in 2007
D. All of the above

Thursday, June 14, 2007


This will likely be the extent of the 'Cuse Football fanbase 20 years from now. Also, "Poop on Pitt" is perhaps the greatest shirt I have ever seen.

It's been a rough couple of years for the Syracuse Football squad. Since McNabb left, the team has been horribly mismanaged, losing the likes of Colt Brennan, Brian Leonard, Mike Hart and Ray Rice (Leonard didn't go to 'Cuse because Paul Pasqualoni was the coach and Ray Rice dropped his commitment to 'Cuse after Paul Pasqualoni left) due to recruiting snafus. The attendance for 'Cuse basketball games is higher than football and despite the renewed enthusiasm infused in the program with USC's Daryl Gross as the cheerleader Athletic Director and uber-enthused cheerleader Head Coach Greg Robinson, the program hasn't really gained any traction or scored any major recruiting coups. The best players from NY (Mike Paulus, Craig Cooper, John Elliott and Bo Harris) are still going to other programs (though to be fair 'Cuse did score minor coups in getting a commitment out of Jermaine Pierce and stealing Bud Tribbey from VT) and other than their fairly solid RB crew, none of the other positions where players were selected as "projects" have really panned out. You could argue that some of that is the result of a poor coaching staff and some of it is due to the fact that the keys to the assistant coaching staff offices have changed hands more times than the Gaza Strip. But I digress....

Anyhoo.... with all that in mind, I found it rather humrous that in an effort to entice more season ticket purchases this year, Gross has proposed a better branding of the packages as well as a cross-promotion with the Great New York State Fair:
"Our theme (for the 2007 season) is 'Sudden Impact.' We're playing off the youth of the team. We're kind of marketing those kids as newcomers. Last year, we were marketing Greg as a 'Braveheart,' passionate guy. While fixing this thing, just get on his bandwagon and you'll see it grow. Now we've got a few stars here that we can market and are fun to watch. Guys like Michael Williams and Taj (Smith) are nice, bookend receivers. That's not even talking about (Rice) Moss and some of the steady players. We have something to market. There's something to come see."
Excuse me while I vomit. The team is being marketed like a minor league baseball team. If I were Gross, I would continue marketing the team along the lines of the Dollar Store, like his senior associate AD is:
"Daryl is confident it's the lowest price in the country for a BCS school," said Pat Campbell, senior associate athletics director.
Nice. That's more like it. "It may not be good football, but dang is it cheap!" And if that doesn't work, well they've got an even more enticing deal for you:
The school just announced a new incentive - it's providing two admission tickets to the New York State Fair with the purchase of season tickets for football.
Now that's a deal. It may suck to watch 'Cuse get killed at home 7 times this year, but it won't suck to watch Kenny Chesney or Hinder and Buckcherry rock the stage while eating a deep fried snickers and corn dog.* Actually, that would kind of suck too.

*I love the New York State Fair and am only making fun of it because it makes for good post fodder. I may actually attend to watch Poison and Ratt. If I lived in Syracuse, I would have season tickets and would get the two tickets to the New York State Fair.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bad Idea Jeans Presents: Allowing Haitian U-17 Team Out Of Your Sights In NYC

When this is the alternative, sneaking out of JFK during a flight stopover must seem like a walk in the park.

"Yeah, I was going to wear a condom, but I figured, 'Hey, when am I going to be in Haiti again?'" VOICEOVER: "BAD IDEA JEANS"

Oh Haiti, will you ever win? If you're out and about today and tomorrow in New York City and happen to see half a dozen Haitians kicking a soccer ball down the street, well, the Haitian authorities would appreciate it if you would alert them. Apparently, half of the members of the Under 17 Haitian Soccer team deserted the team during a stopover at JFK today. Authorities believe that they received help from some Haitians already in NYC. Though it may not be humorous that teenagers are roaming the city illegally and the people who assisted them are technically criminals, the manner in which CnnSI "filled in the blanks" for the president of the Haitian Football Federation is pretty funny:
Yves Jean-Bart (president of the Haitian Football Federation) gave no indication why the players would abandon the team. But Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and thousands of Haitians leave the country each year to escape miserable living conditions, violence and political instability.
CnnSI: "So Mr. Jean-Bart, any idea why your players deserted the team at JFK?"
Mr. Jean-Bart: "No. I have no idea."
CnnSI: "Could it have anything to do with the fact that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and thousands of Haitians leave the country each year to escape miserable living conditions, violence and political instability?"
Mr. Jean-Bart: "Well, when you put it that way..."

I'm no private detective nor am I trying to tell the police what to do but I'd start with cabs and gypsy cabs. Especially those blaring french language radio at obnoxious volumes. Even if those aren't the guys, could you ask them to turn the volume down. They never listen to me. Thanks.

The YES Network Is Run By A Bunch Of Liars

In any language the YES Network is lying about the Yanks' achievements.

In the Yanks most recent incarnation of their ridiculous advertisements featuring Michael Kay, some dramatic brass section and a cheesy phrase (previously "Pride... Power... Pinstripes" and "Looking back................................... Looking Forward") they have gone straight from cheese to straight fibbin. The commercial still involves the horns and Kay's voice, but today's version of the ad states:
"The New York Yankees; the most renowned sports franchise in the world have won more championships than any other team in the history of sports."
Actually guys, that's not factually correct. 26 championships for one team is a lot, I'll give you that. But it's far from the most. Just this past year, the West Genesee Wildcats won their 27th New York State Section 3 Lacrosse Championship. That's one more than the Yanks. Not to be outdone, the BU Terriers won their 28th Beanpot championship this past year. New Jersey's Delsea High School has won over 30 varsity football championships. Michigan's Albion College has won 30+ MIAA Championships in Baseball, Football and Track & Field. They've outdone the Yanks in three separate sports, including baseball. That's something. The Francis Parker School's Volleyball Team has won 44 championships under coach John Landicho. And as as of 2003, the Braybrook Redskins Basketball team had won 58 championships, over twice as many as the Yanks. I think you get the picture. The Yanks are good, 26 championships is a lot, but "the most championships in the history of sports....?" sirs, I call bullshit. Maybe next time they shouldn't hand their advertisement phrase-making responsibilities to an overzealous liar.

Not Re-Signing Orlando Cabrera May Go Down As The Worst Non-Signing In Baseball History

Ever since Game 4 of the World Series in 2004, the SS position for the Sox has been a 2.5 year, $50 million nightmare.

The 2004 season brings back a lot of memories. One of the earliest of those memories came on July 31st at around 5pm as I was sitting at my girlfriend's parent's dinner table when the Philly Sportscaster casually mentioned that Nomar Garciaparra had been traded for what seemed like at the time a ham sandwich and a case of Genny Cream Ale. In mid-bite of my hamburger I screamed some garbled obscenity that to this day is still perhaps the dirtiest thing I've ever said. As history has shown, Theo was right and I was wrong. But after watching Lugo kick around a few balls tonight and allowing another to get right passed him because he stepped the wrong way, it occurred to me that ever since the 2004 season ended, at least in terms of the shortstop position, it seems that the third party in Garciaparra - O-Cab / Mientl;kjsdfjaksl;cz deal was Faustus.

Following the success of the 2004 season and "the trade," Theo and his minions had a ton of roster collateral to work with. They had made so many smart moves to get the championship that you figured they'd just never make a bad move again. They could have re-signed Mo Vaughn and somehow Sox fans would have been ok with it. So when they overspent for Edgar Renteria (4 years for $40 million) instead of re-signing Orlando Cabrera because Cabrera wanted 4 years at around $30 million, you figured they knew what they were doing. They didn't. Renteria started slow and kept getting slower. Eventually his bat picked up and he was serviceable as a batting shortstop, but it was his defense that was really remarkable. In 2004, Renteria had 11 errors. In 2005, Renteria had 30 errors. And what made it so much more disappointing was that one of the major reasons for the Sox success (or Soxcess as the Herald has coined) in '04 was the vast improvement in middle infield D that Pokey Reese and O-Cab provided. So in response to the '04 Renteria disaster, the Sox traded Renteria for a prospect and agreed to pick up $11 million of the Renteria deal (essentially paying $19 million for one year of a 30 error SS play. Solid.) and then signed defensive whiz kid Alex Gonzales to fill the spot for the 2006 season. A-Gon put together mediocre numbers at the plate (though no worse than Renteria) but dazzled in the field, earning the Gold Glove award at SS for the AL.* It was widely known that A-Gon wasn't the solution and having traded away their best SS prospect (Hanley Ramirez) for Beckett the prior season, there was no young stud to come up and step in. The Sox had to go out and sign someone. They settled on Julio Lugo for 4 years and $36 million (an option for a 5th. I'm guessing they take the $1 million buyout.) and to date that decision has been as bad or worse than any front office move I have seen in any sport, business or fantasy league.

As of this very moment, Julio Lugo is batting 9th in the order (he was recently dropped to the 9th and replaced by a rookie in the leadoff spot. He was hitting behind Doug Mirabelli in his first trip to the 9 slot) and is hitting a robust .213. He has 18 stolen bases and hasn't been caught but he's been pretty horrendous in the field and his 8 errors and other fieldings stats don't seem to capture his incompetence in the field. He gave up the error in the fifth to kill Schilling's chance at a perfect game and he just seems to take bizarre routes to balls that appear playable. He also runs like a gimp. Simply stated: he's been shitty and looked shitty doing it. But none of this would matter if Orlando Cabrera (the one that got away) was also shitty. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

Orlando Cabrera, in 2005, played SS for Anaheim, hit as many home runs as Renteria, struck out half as many times and stole twice as many bases. But the biggest difference was in the field. Cabrera made just 7 errors in all of 2005. Renteria had that many before the ground thawed out in beantown. The following year, while A-Gon struck out once every 6 at-bats, Cabrera hit .282 with 9 home runs, 71 RBI and 27 SBs and again played great D at SS. Now this year, Cabrera is hitting .332 with a .382 OBP and is again playing almost flawless D. Lugo, well like I said, Lugo is shitty. While all this information is good and explains why the Sox have failed in their quest to find a competent shortstop, none of the stats are more effective in making that point than this:

The Sox have spent $32 million on SS failures while Orlando Cabrera has outproduced all of the for a mere $22 million. That's an expensive non-signing. Thanks Theo. Oh, and about that Matt Clement deal....

*Derek Jeter actually won the award that year but considering he is one of the worst defensive shortstops in the league, I choose to disregard that mistake.

Tim Hardaway Will Not Be Working For A Military Defense Contractor

(This has little to nothing to do with sports. I just found it too amusing to go untold (or un-re-told).)

Tim Hardaway may not want anything to do with gay people, but apparently our military contractors are suggesting that their ability to turn on the "gay switch" will help us win the war on terror. On the Washington Post's website, a story was told about a proposed "gay bomb" that the military proposed using to fight terrorists:
[a military watchdog group uncovered a] "U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting."

The proposal came from the Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, which requested $7.5 million to develop a so-called "gay-bomb." Using the Freedom of Information Act, Edward Hammond, director of the U.S. office of the Sunshine Project, obtained a copy which was "part of a military effort to develop non-lethal weapons." If completed, the bomb would release a chemical aphrodisiac "and by virtue of either breathing or having their skin exposed to this chemical... soldiers would become gay." This would cause their units to break down as the troops "became irresistibly attractive to one another." In addition to a "gay bomb" the proposal also mentions using chemicals which could make bees angry so that enemy forces would be attacked not only by our troops but also swarms of stinging insects.
I think that's the same hormone released by fat chicks after 3am. Any male who has ingested more than 8 drinks is helpless against their "chemical aphrodisiac." I do like the bee idea though. To me, forcing people to deal with a group of angry bees seems much more effective than forcing dudes to make out. The only question I have is are the bees in the bomb? I don't think bees hang out in the deserts or mountain ranges of these terrorists. Wouldn't the bees be angry enough if we forced them to sit in a bomb for a long period of time and then exploded them on an area where bees aren't normally located? That would make me angry.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shockey's Overrated? No He's Not, KC Joyner

I bet hanging out with that chick is overrated. She's a fucking bucksnort.

This is an open letter to KC Joyner and will meander from the direct questions to Joyner to third person inquiries directed at Joyner (a unique writing style, I know). KC, I welcome your retort and apologize for the language:

I am no fan of the New York Giants nor am I a big fan of Jeremy Shockey (I actually hate him), so as I begin writing this I can't help but think of the line from Top Gun when Stinger has Goose and Mav in his office and is about to tell them they're going to Miramar and says: "I gotta do something here, I still can't believe it." While Stinger couldn't believe he had to send Goose and Mav to Top Gun, similarly I can't believe I gotta defend Jeremy Shockey. Unfortunately after KC Joyner's out of the blue shot at Shockey, I feel compelled to speak out.'s KC Joyner has apparently been asked to create a list of the most overrated and underrated players in the NFL. He started with Tight Ends and presumably because Randy McMichael, Chris Cooley and Desmond Clark weren't big enough names for him, he called out Jeremy Shockey:
Jeremy Shockey
Shockey was a Pro Bowl alternate last year, but the metrics indicate he didn't deserve the selection. Shockey ranked 23rd in yards per attempt among qualifying tight ends last year (5.6). He ranked last in medium pass YPA and 18th in short pass YPA.

Shockey is perceived to be an excellent downfield threat when lining up as a wide receiver, but that is also a mirage. He had a 4.7 YPA on passes thrown to him when he was flexed out, a total that placed him next to last in that category.

In a nutshell, Shockey's YPA figures place him more in the company of Randal Williams and Alex Smith, not Jason Witten and Alge Crumpler (the other two NFC Pro Bowl tight ends in 2006).
A couple things that strike me about this. First, KC describes his method of comparison as this: "The criteria I used was contrasting the player's 2006 metrics with his perceived performance level." Ohhhhh sure, we just measure the metrics against the PPL, or Perceived performance level. But Joyner doesn't give us the metrics for the entire league and funny, the PPL doesn't show up in KC Joyner's glossary and Joyner chooses not to define it throughout the rest of his post. So that means a player's perceived performance level could mean anything. Does it mean that we expect Shockey to catch 80 balls a year because he's a star in the league and his name is recognizable because he's in a big market and is flashy? Or does it mean his actual projected performance level based on previous years. If that's the case, you could argue Shockey outperformed his previous Pro Bowl years of 02-03, 03-04 & 05-06. I mean he had more receptions than all but one of his previous years and tied for the most touchdowns he's had in one season in his career. If you were going to project Jeremy Shockey for 06-07, 66 catches and 7 TDs would be about where you'd probably expect him to be. So my question is then: WHAT THE FUCK DOES "PERCEIVED PERFORMANCE LEVEL MEAN?" If it can mean anything you want it to, then that's fine. KC Joyner is leading my stat for perceived fictitious stat manufacturing.

Even if we are to disregard the mysterious PPL, the other stats Joyner chooses to use are completely meaningless in the context of his post. Joyner says that "Shockey is perceived to be an excellent downfield threat when lining up as a wide receiver, but that is ... a mirage." Shockey is not "an excellent downfield threat" when he's lined up outside. He's a matchup problem. When Shockey lines up wide or in the slot he's not out there to beat a corner, safety or linebacker down the field on a fucking "go route" (especially after he tweaked his ankle. In fact, all his low yardage numbers are likely due to his ankle injury, but I'll explain that later.), he's there so he won't get double teamed or as easily chucked like he would if he were to lineup in front of a D-End or linebacker. It's a mismatch issue, not a speed issue. If they lineup a corner against him, he'll post them up. If they put a linebacker on him, he'll try and out-quick him and create space on the sideline or down the seam. And if they have to bring a safety over to man him up, well then Plaxico will likely have more space on his deep routes because they'll only have one guy over the top to deal with him. So to say that Shockey is fails as a perceived "deep threat" is absurd.

Second (you could argue that this is actually "third" or "fourth," but I'm goin with "second"), what kind of stats are you using? If Shockey is overrated, shouldn't he be underproducing in stats that people expected him to produce, like TDs or receptions? Well, for TEs, he had the third most TDs (and as many TDs as Chad Johnson), the fifth most receptions amongst TEs (2 more than the aforementioned Witten) and only Gates and Gonzales caught more passes for first downs and Shockey easily had the highest POCTRIFDRINFLG of any of the TES with more than 60 catches (POCTRIFDRINFLG = percentage of catches that resulted in first downs in NFL games. Two can play the "made up stat" game, KC). Aren't those the stats we expect year in and year out for Shockey? No one goes into the year thinking Shockey is going to have a big year because he should be able to get his YPA over 7.5 in the slot position. And if no one expects that or uses YPA to "rate" a player going into a season, then there's no way it can be used to prove a player is overrated. Lastly, with regards to YPA, what the fuck does YPA by itself prove? Does it prove that Shockey is overrated, that Shockey is underused or that Eli Manning fucking blows (HINT: It's the last one). If you ever watch a game (and I've read that you do), you must realize that Eli Manning is one of the worst QBs in the NFL and is at least half if not 3/4 of any issue that Shockey may have in terms of production.

Third, it is really lame to pick a year in which Shockey was injured and use those stats to prove he's overrated and then not discuss how these stats differ from his previous years. If his YPA was low this past year but his career YPA is high every other year (and again I have no idea because you do not provide the reader with any of the information), then he's not overrated, it's likely he just suffered an injury and wasn't as explosive as previous years. But judging by the fact that his Yards Per Reception were also down by about 3 yards over his previous career average, I'm going to go with a down year due to injury. It seems you're just picking on a weaker kid. And why? BECAUSE HE COULDN'T RUN VERY FAST (in 2006).

Fourth, when you give us these "metrics," it would be nice if you could give us the metrics for all TEs in 2006. The reason being that while I believe you that Shockey's 4.7 YPA--in the all-important category of TE YPA when flexed out stat--was good enough for second to last in the NFL, I have no idea whether the tenth best flexed out YPA was 4.9 or 9.9. And that matters because, well you can probably figure out why. Because it is such an obscure and meaningless stat, it only matters if Shockey is abnormally worse than everyone else, like off the charts (and even then it doesn't matter to anyone but you).

Fifth, you may need Shockey in your post to make it more interesting, but you need to do better than YPA and flexed out YPA if you want to make the point your headline suggest that you are making. If you're going to use those stats, explain to me why they matter. I consider myself a pretty bright guy, but I can't for the life of me figure out why Shockey's low YPA makes a shit of difference in terms of how he is "rated" when he rates so high in so many other TE stats during a year in which he was not even close to 100%. If you want me to believe that prior to 2006 the stat nerds thought Shockey's YPA was going to be over 9 this year and he disappointed, well then that's great and I buy it. The headline of your post could then have been "Shockey's YPA In 2006 Was Lower Than Some Other TEs And Yet He Made The Pro Bowl Because He Had Many Touchdowns And Also Because A Player's YPA Is Not Determinative Of Anything." Next time let that be your your point and no one will read it because no one cares.

Lastly, where exactly is Shockey rated in a more general sense of ranking TEs? He's probably a top 5 TE in terms of offensive production. He's less athletic then some less productive guys like Ben Watson and Kellen Winslow, but he is a smarter player than either of them. I would say that Jeremy Shockey is a Pro Bowl caliber player who will never be the best TE in the league and is a bit injury prone. And because he is rated like that, so far, he's never disappointed.

Other than that I really liked what you wrote. Congrats, idiot.

Warmest Regards,

Monday, June 11, 2007

The AL MVP Is A Two Horse Race.... And The Horses Are Closer Than You May Think

If you don't know much about Dan Haren, this picture will give you all you need to know. He likes puppies and dudes.

It would be difficult to argue that anyone other than A-Rod even has a prayer in the AL MVP race. If you want to argue that Mags has a shot, I say A-Rod has almost double the homers and Mags has given way to Sheffield recently in terms of who is carrying the team. Plus, Ordonez will likely get hurt and miss too much time to garner much consideration. If you're taking Vlad, I'd have to listen a little longer because while that lineup as a whole is pretty solid, Vlad is clearly the only consistent threat on that team and without his production and stability the Angels would not be in contention. The only problem with the argument is that Vlad is in a tough division and with A-Rod so far ahead in terms of numbers, Vlad would have to step up his production a bit and the Angels would have to win the division in order for him to improve his candidacy enough to have a shot. Ortiz, well, that's an argument for another day but if he couldn't win in 2005 (or even garner serious consideration last year), he'll likely never win. But there is one guy who is having a year that is so outstanding and so important to his team's success that he is not only worthy of conisderation for AL MVP, he'd get my vote if we were voting today (admittedly this has something to do with my dislike of A-Rod AND my strongly-held belief that pitchers are undervalued in the MVP debate).

Oakland's Dan Haren isn't just having a good year, he's on pace to put together the best season by an AL pitcher since they lowered the mound. In order to properly recognize just how outstanding a season Dan Haren is having, you first must discount what Jake Peavy is doing in the National League as he is the only player in the majors with comparable numbers. Distinguishing Peavy is pretty easy. He plays in the National League and in the National League they play Tee Ball. To give you an idea of just how bad the lineups in the NL are, Peavy's team, the National League West leading Pads, is hitting Josh Bard in their cleanup spot. In 147 ABs, Bard has 2Hrs, 18RBI and has an OPS of .661. Carlos Zambrano has an OPS of .740. When talking about stellar pitching, unless an NL pitcher has an ERA below 1.00, they are having an average year. Haren on the other hand, is out of control. First, he plays in the real Major Leagues so his stats are official and second, if he were to finish the year with at his present ERA (1.58) it would be the lowest ERA since the Big Train Walter Johnson in 1919. And back then they actually batted with their fingers and the ball they used was made of granite because twine and rawhide had been used up for the war.* It would seem that Johnson had a bit of an advantage given that he was capable of throwing at or near 100mph, or so they say. But to truly understand what Haren is doing, you've got to look a little deeper.

I think it'd be fair to say that the high water mark for pitching in the modern era was Pedro Martinez in 1999. At the height of the "steroid era," Petey started 29 games, won 23 games, lost 4, threw 233 innings, struck out 313, walked 37 (strikeout to walk ratio over 8. Pedro's the only pitcher in AL history to record such a feat. And he's done it twice.), had an ERA of 2.02 and gave up 9 home runs. 9. To put that in perspective, since Johan Santana has taken the reins as the AL's best pitcher, the fewest home runs he's given up in a year is 22 (he gave up 17 in 2003 but only pitched 158 innings. He's given up 13 already this year.). But what was most amazing about that year was just how much better than everyone else Pedro was. The second best ERA was David Cone at 3.44. He had 100 more strikeouts than the next guy. And he had 5 more wins than the next guy. While Haren may not end the season with the K numbers or have 5 more wins than anyone, the comparison to Pedro's '99 season is fair in terms of just how much better a season he's having than every other pitcher in the AL.

Haren's 1.58 ERA is not only the lowest ERA in almost 100 years but it's almost a full run lower than the next closest guy (who happens to be his teammate, Chad Gaudin at 2.43). He's only given up more than 2 runs once (3 runs to he Yanks in a game he won) and has given up 1 run or less in 8 of his 14 starts, including 4 games where he gave up no runs. Opponents are hitting .179 against him. The next lowest is more than 30 points higher at .211. His opponents on base percentage is an absurd .227, a mere 30 points lower than the next closest and opponents OPS is .513. That's 60 points lower than the next closest pitcher and 150 points lower than the 10th lowest OPS in the AL. He doesn't have killer strikeout numbers like '99 Pedro, but he's still amongst the league leaders in K/9 and K/BB ratio. Because his ERA and opponents batting average are at historic lows, the fact that he's not striking out as many people as one of the greatest of all-time shouldn't obscure the fact that he is so much better than every other pitcher in the game that his performance warrants MVP consideration.

Unfortunately for Haren, he has multiple factors working against him. First, he pitches in Oakland. If he were pitching in New York or Boston, his number would be retired and songs would be sung about him. And because of this relative lack of exposure, he will likely fail to lead many ballots when they are cast (assuming that against all odds Haren is able to keep this pace up). He also is playing in a very tough division and the ONLY chance he has is if Oakland wins the AL West and Haren wins 20+ games. Both of which are unlikely. My guess for what Haren would have to finish the season at in order to compete with A-Rod is 22-3, 1.85 ERA, perhaps a couple complete game shutouts and maybe a photo with two or three Canadian strippers. Again, it's very unlikely that Haren will be able to keep this up but what's more important is that Haren's year not be obscured just because players like A-Rod are hitting the cover off the ball, or just because A-Rod likes strippers that resemble men.

*Information about baseball equipment in 1919 may not necessarily be factually correct.

When Scott Baio Ruled The World

Howard Cosell calling Baio's run through an obstacle course. God Bless you YouTube.

(Baio's run is a little after the halfway mark. Do NOT fastforward the pre-race interview with Baio. Especially if you've ever been interested in seeing Scott Baio's balls. Not that that's the only reason to watch or the reason I like the video or.... let's just move on.)

This original design for this post, more than anything, was simply to present a glorified advertisement for Scott Baio's upcoming reality show on VH1 entitled: "Scott Baio is 45 ... and Single." I was going to tie in sports somehow (maybe a Charles in Charge episode or something), but really I wanted to talk about how amazed I was that the mighty Baio had fallen so far and stooped to such a level of ignomity by allowing his lovelife to be taped and broadcast for all to see. But then, by the grace of the 'Tube, I was rewarded with the above video. I really don't have the words to describe it but I think it's safe to say that Scott Baio was a frickin stud back in the day. He DOMINATED that obstacle course. He must've snuck onto the course the night before and practiced. The video would be great solo, but to have Howard Cosell do the play-by-play.... how is this not in the YouTube hall of fame?

Anyhoo, back to Baio's show. The concept for the show itself is enticing but the previews were what really drew me in. Baio, it would seem, has an aversion to commitment that borders on a clinical disorder. It's a pretty pathetic setup and the preview shows clips of him arguing with his girlfriend and then later at a strip club (the juxtaposition is meant to suggest that the two cannot co-exist. Well, it's working ok for A-Rod...). My favorite part (other than the fact that it caused me to stumble upon the above video) is that Baio is clearly in denial about just how weak a move this is. He offers this, ummm, defense(?) of the show and why he's doing it:
"I didn't want to do a reality show. The concepts were always meaningless, and the people seemed pathetic," Baio says. "Maybe I'm a little pathetic. But this isn't Scott Baio getting a colonoscopy. It's about a guy trying to get his life together, trying to figure out why he's never been married and what his problem is."
I know I'll be watching but maybe Scott should think about doing a better job of getting the key demo's attention here. I'm not sure, "Scott Baio is 45 ... and Single; at least it's better than watching a colonoscopy" is going to get people watching.

I'm No Doctor, But Julian Tavarez Is Bat-Shit Crazy

It's pretty well known that Julian Tavarez is a weird dude. Aside from bearing a distinct resemblance to Freddy Kruger, he has been involved in many a dustup due to his hair trigger temper, admits to buying new clothes as opposed to washing his dirty clothes and recently told the Globe that if baseball didn't work out for him, he wanted to be a porn star. But one of his more pronounced "quirks" is his penchant for self-treating his ailments via "home remedy" (The Herald wrote a piece about this a couple months ago. Subscription required.). He actually uses Snake Oil to keep his joints loose though he admits that he's pretty sure it has no effect. That's all well and good because pitchers are a superstitious and regimented bunch, but his most recent treatment seems a little wacky even for Julian. In treating a blister on his pitching hand, Julian has chosen the remedy that so many other 21 year-old chicks in tight pants choose when they want to stay out later and get drunker: Red Bull.

Tavarez said he pops the blister and dries it out by rubbing in some Red Bull and ground-up aspirin.
Red Bull and aspirin. That seems, uh, healthy...? But this wouldn't be a Julian Tavarez story without some kind of bizarre and unnecessary comment. In describing just how bad the blister is, Tavarez said:
"[Josh ] Beckett would be on the DL with this"

Nice, JT.