Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What Did We Learn From The Clemens Hearings? Well Not Much Other Than The Fact That Clemens Is A Lying Sack Of Shit.

Clemens won this contest in a landslide.

Remember when you were a kid and you did something wrong but thought you could get away with it, so you lied (or at least that’s what I did)? Even though you knew it really wasn’t the worst thing you've ever done and it was very likely your parents weren’t going to be that mad about it anyway, you lied. And maybe you got away with it but in support of that lie you had to create all of these secondary lies a long convoluted twisted tales (Dane Cook actually does a rare funny bit about this type of thing in his "Vicious Circle" special). And these secondary lies never really made a whole lot of sense but in order to bolster your original lie, you had to stick by them. You know, the real lie was that you weren’t hanging out at the bad kid’s house but in support of that lie you create an alibi and a timeline and you get real defiant about it: "Mom, I couldn’t have been over at Dirty McChainsmoker’s house because me and Carl were riding our bikes over by the sand banks and then we went for a swim and stopped by Rite-Aid to pick up some gum and then played a best of 13 Sega ‘93 Hockey Series but neither of us were allowed to be the Blackhawks or Blues because Roenick is too good and Al MacInnis’ one-timer is too unstoppable and I won in 10 games because I picked the Edmonton Oilers and subbed in Petr Klima at center who was secretly the second best player in the game even though Carl picked the Canucks (the best overall team in Sega ‘93 because Kirk McLean was a friggin brick wall and the Bure-Linden combo was borderline unstoppable). After that we went to Jreck’s and got a Meatball sub and then a sundae from Morgan’s before we took our clubs over to the 15th hole over at SLU to play the 4 hole post-dawn-sneak-on (15, 16, 14, 15) where I flew the ditch on 16 from the tips (260 carry) and then sculled my second onto the 17th tee. So you see, I never had time to stop at Dirty’s place. No siree." All you really needed to say was "No mom. I was riding bikes." Unfortunately you don’t take this route because you want to make it seem inconceivable that you could have been at the bad kid’s house. But mom’s no dummy. She may not have been willing to let it slide until you came up with this story. But this is your story and mom sees the holes in it.
Mom: "So you were playing Sega ‘93, eh?"
Me: "Yup. Great series. Klima dominated"
Mom: "But didn’t you say that neither of you could be St. Louis because MacInnis’ one-timer was too unstoppable?"
Me: (realizing I fucked up) "Ummm, yeah."
Mom: "But I thought Sega ‘93 was the year BEFORE they put in the one-timers?"
Me: "Well, I, we meant that maybe... I misspoke and, misremembered but, Petr Klima was the one..."
Mom: "You’re grounded."
Me: "Fuck"

You see it wasn’t the lie that got me, it was the lie in support of my lie. Clemens’ contention that he didn’t do steroids is only as credible as he comes off. And because of his secondary lies, he doesn’t come off as all that credible. He came off as a guy who if found with cookie crumbs and chocolate on his face wouldn't simply deny eating the cookies, but would deny eating the cookies, deny liking cookies, deny liking chocolate and deny liking food or ever haven eaten anything that someone would describe as sweet tasting.

Throughout the entire hearing, I couldn’t figure out (and still can't) why Clemens was so set on fostering these unnecessary secondary lies. My favorite one was when Clemens said that he’d never heard of HGH until this whole thing came about. Now this may be irresponsible of me but I call absolute bullshit on this claim. Clemens is CLEARLY lying about this fact. Never heard of it? Are you fucking kidding me? Even if we didn’t know that Clemens knew that his wife had been injected with HGH, there is no way that Clemens didn’t know about HGH or have conversations with people about it. Now I’d be more than willing to believe that he never had discussions about DOING HGH or asking people of the benefits of HGH (I don’t believe him, but I could see how that is more believable) but why is it necessary to go to the extra step of saying "I’ve never had a discussion about it ever." Never a casual conversation, Rog? You never talked to someone about the allegations regarding Bonds or Giambi a couple years back? What is the point of denying in totality knowledge of HGH the substance? My guess is that in Roger's world, he thinks that it if denying use is good, denying knowledge must be fucking super good. What he doesn't seem to factor into the equation is that it just seems so unreasonable to believe that an athlete in the 2000's had never even heard of HGH and it becomes such a stupid lie that it undermines EVERYTHING else you have to say. If we know you’re going to lie about something so stupid, why wouldn’t we then believe that you are willing to extend that lie to everything else? But Clemens wasn’t done there. He did the same thing when asked by rep Maloney (my representative!) about notice of the Mitchell inquiries.

Congresswoman Maloney asked Clemens why he changed his story about getting notice from George Mitchell that indicated Mitchell wanted to speak to him. Originally, in his 60 minutes version, Clemens stated that he knew about the letters from Mitchell but was told they wouldn’t tell him what the evidence actually was so he decided not to talk. Under oath, Clemens new tune was that he never knew Mitchell wanted to talk to him. When he fell back on his under oath remarks, Rep Maloney asked him if we are to believe that his agent never notified him of the letters from Mitchell, what the fuck is he doing by still employing such an irresponsible representative? He had no response because it’s simply not true. Do we honestly believe that the Hendricks brothers never mentioned to Clemens that Mitchell Report sent three letters to them asking their client to come in and talk? No fucking chance. Do you really expect us to believe that when their biggest client gets notice that there is evidence--evidence that will be made public in a couple months--that this client used steroids and HGH that they then wouldn’t pick up the phone and say, "Hey Rocket, what do you want us to do about this?" It’s not like the Mitchell Report was as secret and no one cared what it was going to say. OF COURSE Clemens’ agent told him about the fucking letters from the Mitchell Report. And OF COURSE Clemens said there was no chance he was going to meet with Mitchell because Clemens didn’t believe they actually had anything on him. And then when the report was released and we learned that they had a TON of shit on Clemens, he had to now explain why he never spoke with Mitchell after Mitchell's repeated requests. His only recourse at that point was to throw his agent under the bus. What are the Hendricks’ brothers going to do? If they were truly his lawyers at the time, the conversations would likely be privileged but even beyond that there is no way they’re going to disclose that conversation as it would be horrible for future business. But more importantly to the greater poitn, this lie was unnecessary. If he had simply said he got notice and decided that it would be improper to speak with the Mitchell Report unless they were willing to provide he and his lawyers with the evidence ahead of time, that wouldn’t be great but at least it makes sense. It’s a conservative legal decision based on sound judgment that is explainable. Instead we get, "Sorry ya’ll, my super agents never told me that I was going to go down in a heap of flames." That’s simply not true. And despite the fact that its overall relevance to the proceedings is minimal, it just speaks volumes as to how much of a freaking lying sack of shit this guy is turning out to be.

The final explanation I found really troubling was the convoluted story about Clemens and Pettitte’s relationship being such that Pettitte would have told Clemens about his HGH use. And because Pettitte never did talk about HGH with Clemens, this somehow means that Clemens never used it. Yes, I know this sounds like friggin loony tunes so let me get this right. I think it went something like this: Clemens and Pettitte were tight. The two were so tight in fact that they would approach eachother about anything. So if Pettitte knew that Clemens used HGH in the past and Pettitte was thinking about using it himself, Pettitte would have approached Clemens to ask him about it before he (Pettitte) used it. And since Pettitte never asked Clemens about it (which must be confirmed on the deposition in order for any of this to make sense), this somehow confirms that Pettitte never thought Clemens used HGH. Aside from being a horrendously weak argument, there are a couple of things that don’t make sense about this.

First, if Pettitte and Clemens were so tight, why didn’t Pettitte mention to Clemens that he was taking HGH? Pettitte admitted to taking HGH and Roger claims he never knew about it. Doesn’t this kinda throw cold water on the idea that Pettitte would have approached Clemens about using it in the first place if he could never muster the courage to tell him he was actually taking it? It would seem that that would be one of those things that buddies talk about. And yet, Clemens claims they never spoke about it. My guess is that Clemens’ answer in response to that would be that Pettitte wouldn’t have felt comfortable talking about cheating with Roger because he respected him so much (again, in Roger's head we're working under the assumption that he never did any drugs). Andy was embarrassed. I don’t fucking know. I don’t find it in any persuasive that because Pettitte didn’t ask Clemens about HGH (according to Clemens), that this means Clemens didn’t take HGH. Especially when held against the evidence that Pettitte AND HIS WIFE both confirmed that it was their understanding that Clemens took HGH. And when you throw in that Roger’s own wife took HGH (without Clemens’ knowledge, allegedly. Another point that is HORSEFUCKINGSHIT (tmesis)), the plot just got too damn thick. And all the defiance in the world doesn't make Roger look any less guilty.

With dust all settled, here’s where we are at: it has been confirmed that Brian McNamee injected Roger’s best friend, Roger’s wife and claims he injected Roger; and Roger’s best friend and his best friend’s wife back up McNamee’s claim. Given ALL OF THAT, we’re supposed to believe that because Pettitte didn’t ask Clemens about HGH, this means that Clemens couldn’t have done it. If that’s what you’re hanging your hat on Rog, you are fucking sunk.

Lastly, and this is completely subjective, doesn’t it just feel like Clemens is lying through his fucking teeth? Between his greasy lawyers and his feigned defiance and indignation, I just don’t believe him. I don’t think there is anything that can be done to change my mind about it. I’m sure all the evidence against him has affected my judgment but more than anything, I find him to be completely unbelievable. He just seems like a big fat liar. I suppose that’s not fair of me, but neither is shooting up drugs and striking out Mark Bellhorn during a roid rage. You see Roger didn’t worry about fairness during his career, so why should I give a shit about being fair when opining about that same career?

Just Wow

I don't even have to words to properly describe the absolute stupidity that is the above video and song. The only positive I can take away from the above video is the production meetings that must have gone on to get it to this point:

Editor: "Anything else guys..."
Dbag: "Well, I've been kinda working on some lyrics for a song about the Patriots for a little while and think I've stumbled upon something pretty solid."
Editor: "Well, let's hear it."
Dbag: "You remember the song 'Beat It' by Michael Jackson?"
Editor: "Sure. That song was all kinds of popular 25 years ago."
Dbag: "Well, keep that beat in mind as I sing this song... (falsetto) 'You sent a cameraman to shoot other teams!"
Editor: "Sweet Jesus Man! That's genius! I want a video for the website by 6pm!"
Dbag: "Um sir, it's noon. What do you want me to do?"
Editor: "We've got a Sony handycam in the back somewhere. Just take it and convince some assholes on the streets and bars to start singing. It'll be outstanding."
And so forth. I just... I'm done with this.

Hank Strikes Again

Not many people would have the chutzpah to bring up the names Koufax and Drysale when speaking about a crew of untested rookie pitchers, but then again, Hank Stein is quickly separating himself from the distinction of "many people."

I know I tend to do this a lot ("this" meaning ripping people in sports who exaggerate when making comparisons), but it bother the shit out of me when people resort to unnecessary hyperbole in order to bolster a point or get people excited. The media, and people speaking to the media, seem conditioned to give us examples that we can easily digest. A defensive end who is quick off the ball is compared to LT (see Shawn Merriman) or a pitcher who can command his fastball is the "next Maddux." The problem is that the comparison comes after 15 games or 60 innings and is the player invariably will NEVER reach the level of the compared player. I understand the thought process behind the comparisons. Familiarity with the big name brings with it an easy frame of reference from which the reader can draw comparisons. The only problem with that is that rather than use the hyperbolic comparison as it was meant to be used, the idiot reader (the majority of readers) uses the information as gospel. It's exactly the problem I had with the Globe comparing Buchholz and Lester to Peavy and Pettitte a couple days ago. Reading those comparisons don't just get people excited, they actually think they've got a Peavy & Pettitte combo (people are stupid) and it creates a monster of unfair expecations. Well, after these upcoming statements, it seems Hank Steinbrenner loves feeding the monster.

In an article entitled "Decade of Dominance", Steinbrenner, amongst other lofty claims, seems to think that his young pitchers are as good as any other staff in the league. In fact, he is so confident in his kids that he sees fit to compare them to perhaps the greatest duo of pitchers of all-time:
Steinbrenner is expecting another playoff run at the least in the finale of Yankee Stadium. "They do need to make the playoffs or let's face it, I'm going to be ticked off," Steinbrenner said. "And then once we get in the playoffs we'd better do well, but the fact of the matter is, as far as the next 10 years we could be in dynamite shape. We could have the best pitching staff since the Dodgers in the '60s and obviously we'll have some good hitters, too."
Koufax and Drysdale, eh? I feel like Matt Foley staring across the table at David Spade and saying, "Hey, Dad, I can't see too good is that Bill Shakespeare over there?" (video footage found here) except we're inserting Koufax and Drysdale for Shakespeare and I'm looking at three pitchers under age of 25 who have less than 20 starts total under their collective belts. It's absolutely INSANE to invoke the 60's Dodgers teams when speaking about your young pitchers. I don't care how confident you are in your guys, when you set the bar that high the only place for your guys to go is down. They can't possibly reach those expectations, let alone exceed them. And though you may think that people wouldn't possibly take so literally a statement like Stein's, you don't know people.

For many, the Post and the quotes within it are their only frame of reference. They don't differentiate between fact and opinion. They interpret his quote not as the opinion of a narcissist, but that of a skilled assessor of talent (which Steinbrenner clearly is not). Same goes for the Globe and the lofty comparisons that Buchholz, Ellsbury and Lester draw. Sure it gets people excited (I guess it'd be less sexy to compare those guys to Brett Tomko, David DeJesus and Gustavo Chacin, though that may be much more fair) but it is just so inaccurate as to be distracting from the real story that both teams or doing something that historically doesn't work out. They are relying on young pitching to put them into playoff contention. And maybe that was his intention (distraction from reality). In doing so he created an unreachable level of achievement and an unfair atmosphere in which these young kids will be scrutinized. As if it wasn't going to be hard to enough....

So yeah, maybe I'm a little over critical of these types of comparisons given that they've become a matter of course. Just don't say I didn't tell you so when the next Don Drysdale turns out to be the next Edwin Jackson.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The F?

I hear ya kid. The below headline had me wondering what the fuck was going on too.

Bored to tears for a period of time today and unable to blog because I work for communists, I found myself perusing the regular news rolls. In passing through Yahoo, I found the following headline:

"Scientists invent submersible glider that runs on sea's heat"

If you're like me, this raised some eyebrows. For one, I didn't know the sea produced the type of heat that could be utilized to power anything let alone an underwater vehicle. And if that's the case, what the fuck have we been doing by not using it for so long? There is a lot of sea out there.

The other thing that made me do a doubletake was the idea of a "submersible glider." Now after reading the article I realized I was thinking of something completely different. But without that knowledge my imagination took me to a pretty crazy place. I mean, submersible glider? What the F? So, in an effort to properly square away my thoughts, I drew a picture of what I thought a submersible glider to be. Below is the result (mind you, I am a HORRIBLE artist):

"Submersible Glider" by A. Alan Smith

Not bad eh? It's a guy on a glider submersing himself. I couldn't really draw the heat propelling him through the water but I thought it properly depicted the idea of a "submersible glider." That poor fucker didn't know what the fuck was going on until he hit the water and then it was smooth sailing.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with sports, but I think it summarizes exactly the problem with this period between the Super Bowl and Spring Training. This is what happens when searching through things to watch tonight I honestly considered the Quinnipiac v. Wagner game.

Hurry up Spring Training. I'm starting to lose my shit.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Sox Aren't Worried About Schilling. Hell, They've Got A Young Pettitte And Peavy In Their Rotation

Hey, I'm as psyched as anyone to see what Lester and Buchholz can do for the Sox this season. Unfortunately, the expectations may be a little on the high side.

With the Pats turning a fantastic season into a giant dump (no pun intended), pitchers and catchers can't start practicing fast enough for the mourning New England faithful. Fortunately for us all, because the Sox start their season early in Japan this year, Spring Training comes early and the Sox officially open facilities for their title defense in 3 days. And everything was going so sweet until Schilling's old ass up and busted up his shoulder. But even that really wasn't that bad because the Sox had 6 starters ready to go anyway (7 if you include Masterson). Because of this depth, Schilling's injury didn't really have the panic that it normally might. But I think because of the depression associated with the Pats failure and the history of overreaction and panic of Sox fans, the Sox media went a little overboard in an effort to calm the everyone's nerves.

Instead of merely heralding the young Sox pitchers as viable starting staff with great experience and potential, the Boston media compared the young pitchers on the staff to a couple of major league players. And not just any two guys:
The Red Sox, like the Yankees, are transitioning to a younger pitching staff, building around a core of veterans in Josh Beckett (27) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (27), and they hope lefthander Jon Lester (24) becomes their Andy Pettitte and Buchholz emerges as their Jake Peavy.
Pettitte and Peavy? Whoa. I hope that's true because the Sox will have the greatest rotation of all-time but come the fuck on. Peavy won the Cy Young last year and Pettitte is a borderline Hall of Famer (and drug abuser). It seems odd to make such lofty comparisons for two guys who are fairly untested when neither of them need to fill a No. 1 or 2 roll in the rotation. I'd be happy if Lester becomes a latter day Bruce Hurst and ecstatic if Buchholz turned into a steady Derek Lowe or David Cone.

Of course in my heart of hearts I want every young Sox pitcher to turn into Brandon Webb and Jake Peavy, but that's just not going to happen. It's much more likely that Buchholz or Lester flame out and never pitch another game than it is that either of them becomes a 20 game winner. That's just the way these things go. But I guess what frustrates me most about situations like these is that these guys are trying to make the rotation of the defending World Champs and the pressure is high enough. To start throwing around comparisons to Pettitte and Peavy is both unfair and unnecessary. We're f'n psyched about these two guys. Let's just leave it at that until the season starts.