I Pick Every NFL Game in 2010 - Week 17

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last week is here.  My college bowl picks are here.  I won the fantasy title in one of my 3 $ leagues this year; my only fantasy title of the entire calendar year - I was in the title game in all 3 leagues, which isn't a bad achievement; I won and lost one of the games fairly handily, I had a lead in the third game all the way until the 4th quarter Tuesday night, but my opponent had both Vick and Peterson and their touchdowns moved him right past me.

Season record:
ATS:  113-106-7
SU:  143-83

Carolina +14.5 Atlanta (Falcons win game) loss/win
Browns +6 Steelers (Steelers win game) loss/win
Minn +3 Detroit  loss/loss
Oakland +3.5 KC (chiefs win game) win/loss
Miami +4 NE (Patriots win game) loss/win
Bucs +7.5 NO (Saints win game) win/loss
Jets -2.5  Bills win/win
Bengals +9.5 Ravens (Balt wins game) win/win
Houston -.5  Jax win/win
Redskins +4 NYG (Giants win game) win/win
Dallas +7.5 Eagles (Eagles win game) win/loss
Titans +10 Colts (Colts win game) win/win
Bears +10 GB (Packers win game) win/win
Arizona +6 Niners (Niners win game) loss/win
Denver +3.5 SD (Chargers win game) loss/win
Seattle +3 StL win/win

Final Record: ATS 10-6, 123-112-7
                            SU: 12-4, 155-87

The Best Professional Wrestling Matches of 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I've got 37 matches rated at 4 1/2 stars and up from Dec-2009 - Nov, 2010; I've ranked them - but really, after #1, which is the only 5 star match I've rated and my pick for Match of the Year, I wouldn't object to virtually any ordering at all (yeah, it would be good if I had 40.  I don't.  I have the number I have.)  None of those matches are from either WWE or TNA; however, I have the top ten matches for each of those promotions included below - for those, I used the full calendar 2010.  I have seen every significant match for both promotions this year; my TNA record keeping isn't as good as my WWE, so if I've forgotten one or juxtaposed two, that wouldn't shock.

Best Professional Wrestling Matches of 2010

1.Tyler Black v. Davey Richards (June ROH) 5

2. Marufuji v. Prince Devitt (NJ Dec 09) 4 ¾
3. Marufuji v. Prince Devitt (June NJ) 4 ¾
4. Davey Richards v. Kota Ibushi (Evolve Jan) 4 ¾
5. Bryan Danielson v. Shingo (DGUSA July) 4 3/4
6. Davey Richards v. Chris Daniels (ROH Oct) 4 3/4 
7. Briscoes v. American Wolves (ROH – March) 4 ¾
8. Goto v. Nakamura (NJ Apr) 4 ¾ 
9. Kenta/Suiguira v. Go/Morishima (Aug NOAH) 4 ¾
10. Yoshikawa/Usuda v. Hidaka/Sawa (Battlearts Feb) 4 ¾
11. Suwama v. Minoru Suzuki (AJ Aug) 4 ¾
12. Tyler Black v. Davey Richards (ROH Aug) 4 ¾
13. Davey Richards v. Koji Kanemoto (NJ Sept) 4 ¾

14. Marufuji v. Devitt (Jan NJ) 4 1/2
15. Devitt/Taguchi v. Ibushi/Omega (Oct NJ) 4 ½
16. Shingo v. Yamato (DGate May) 4 ½
17. Marufuji v. Kanemoto (NJ Mar) 4 ½
18. Go v. Suguira (NOAH Dec 09) 4 ½
19. Go v. Nakamura (Aug NOAH) 4 ½
20. Shingo v. Hulk (DGate July) 4 ½
21. Marufuji v. Kanemaru (July Noah) 4 ½
22. Suguira v. Taniguchi (July NOAH) 4 1/2
23. Briscoes v. Kings (June ROH) 4 1/2 
24. Suguira v. Akiyama (May NOAH) 4 ½
25. Kenta v. Kanemaru (Sept Noah) 4 ½
26. Yoshino v. CIMA (Nov DG) 4 1/2 
27. Dick Togo v. BKK (Osaka Feb) 4 ½
28. Black v. Strong v. Aries (ROH Apr) 4 ½
29. Richards v. Strong (PWG Apr) 4 ½
30. Yoshino/Hulk/Doi v. Quackenbush/Jigsaw/Hallowicked (July Chikara) 4 1/2
31. Yuji/Kanemoto v, Go/Aoki (Oct NJ) 4 ½
32. Strong v. Daniels (Nov ROH) 4 1/2 
33. Kensuke v. Go (July Noah) 4 ½
34. Suguira v. Takayama (July NOAH) 4 ½
35. Suguira v. Akiyama (Aug NOAH) 4 1/2 
36. Hero v. Ryan (PWG Sep) 4 ½
37. Kenta/Aoki v. Edwards/Strong (Oct Noah) 4 ½

Top 10 WWE Matches of 2010

1. John Morrison d. Sheamus  (Dec)
2.      2.  Undertaker d. Shawn Michaels  (WM 26)
3.       3. Edge d. Rey Mysterio/Del Rio/Kane (Dec)
4.       4. Raw Money In The Bank  (July)
5.       5. Smackdown Elimination Chamber  (Feb)
6.       6. Team WWE d. Nexus  (Summer Slam)
7.       7. MITB (WM 26)
8.       8.  Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble)
9.       9. RAW Elimination Chamber (Feb)
10.   10. Evan Bourne d. Chris Jericho (June)

Top 10 TNA Matches of 2010

1.       MCMG d. Generation Me (Oct)  
2.       AJ Styles d. Kurt Angle (Jan)
3.       MCMG d. Generation Me (Dec)
4.       MCMG d. Beer Money (Aug Impact)
5.       Kurt Angle draw. Jeff Hardy (Sept)
6.       MCMG d. Generation Me (Mar)
7. Kurt Angle d. Ken Anderson (Apr)
8.       Doug Williams d. AJ Styles (Dec)
9.       MCMG d. Beer Money (July)
10.   Frankie Kazarian d. Daniels/Red/Kendrick (Mar)

The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever 2011 Ed. #140-131

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The previous ten is here.

140. Juan Marichal RHP WAR+WARP=125.7
ERA+ 123
MVPQ 1965 (19.6) 1966 (20.6)

-Marichal had two additional seasons within two tenths of an MVPQuality season (combined 16 WAR+WARP); Marchical's '65-6 is the best two year run for any 20th century player on the list thusfar.  Marichal is the third greatest SFG of all time; the list for which is here.

139. Red Ruffing RHP 126.1
Red Sox/Yankees
ERA+ 110
MVPQ none, Best Season 1932 (13.6), 

-The adjusted ERA disparity is a clue that you'd subjectively place Ruffing behind Marichal, it took Ruffing a half dozen more seasons to hit his WAR/WARP total.  

 138. Dick Allen 3B/1B 126.1
OPS+ 156
Adjusted BA/OPB/SLG  .312/.402/.617
MVPQ - 1964 (19.2), 1966 (16.5), 1972 (18.8 with White Sox)

-Look at the slashline!  That is a Shoeless Joe Jackson bat, he and Jackson the only men on the list so far who went 3/4/6., and also the only two men thusfar with adjusted OPS over 150.  The two best bats on the list so far - Joe Jackson and Dick Allen.  Has there been a good Richie Allen book?   In the context of black athletes of the time looked upon more favorably historically - but framed as malcontents or agitators at the time, there certainly could be a revision of Allen's career.  

137. Bill Dickey C 126.3
OPS+ 127
MVPQ none, Best season 1937 (15.7)

-Catchers, as mentioned before, don't get the bump from WAR that is ideal, factor that into your subjective consideration.  There's no evidence that Dickey was anything but average defensively, it's catching with his bat for 17 years that gets him here.

136. Amos Rusie RHP 126.8
ERA+ 129
-Note both that WAR overrates the 19th century ballplayers, but also that Rusie's value was earned in ten seasons.   

135. Pee Wee Reese SS 127.2
OPS+ 98
MVPQ none, Best season 1949 (13.2)
-Reese had a slightly below average bat, that's what the sub 100 adjusted OPS indicates - but that shows the value of 16 seasons at shortstop with an average major league bat - Reese wasn't Ozzie Smith with the glove either, he was just an average big league bat, with an average shortstop glove, able to play 2000+ games at short, and that buys him this spot on the list of the greatest players who ever lived.  

134. Keith Hernandez 1B 127.2
OPS+ 128
MVPQ none, Best season 1979 (14.8)

-A slightly better John Olerud sounds like damning with faint praise, until you realize how underappreciated Olerud was.  A plus glove, a really good bat, just missing that 3/4/5 slashline - and this is where Hernandez properly rests. 

133. Jackie Robinson 2B 127.2
OPS+ 131
MVPQ 1949 (19.7), 1951 (21.7), 1952 (17.6), 

-Note that Robinson and Reese had exactly the same career value, to the tenth of a point, which is superfun even for a Giants fan.  Robinson's the first middle of the diamond fielder with the 3/4/5 slashline; so far on the list, here are those elite bats by position:

1B Will Clark
2B Jackie Robinson
3B Dick Allen
LF Joe Jackson
RF Elmer Flick

We'll see if we can get 3 more before the list is up.  The most important bump you should give Robinson subjectively isn't based on external "look how much he had to overcome" factors, but instead on the shortness of his career - this value was earned in ten seasons, as he didn't break in until age 28.  Where would you rank Robinson on a subjective list? Top 40, probably.  

132. Monte Ward SS/2B/RHP 127.3
OPS+ 92
ERA+ 119

-Like Bob Caruthers its the combination of the pitching value and the bat, more within reach to the 19th century ballplayer (and Babe Ruth) that sticks Ward on the list.  Subjectively, they're fun to look at, but a little overvalued.

131. Don Sutton RHP 127.4
ERA+ 108
MVPQ none, Best season 1972 (11), 

-It's only 18 seasons, as he didn't pitch from '83-7, but were you to be looking for someone to really, really drop down the list given a lack of superior peak, it's Sutton - a not too far above average adjusted ERA and not a single season even close to MVPQ, you would not rank Sutton subjectively, in the same class with many of the pitchers we've already seen on the list.

70 down.  130 left.  I'll be back next week.  

The Weekly Tendown December 19 --December 25 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dear Internet:


Here's Tendown 57.

1. Defining Deviancy Down

About 30 years ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan coined the phrase "defining deviancy down" to refer to the normalization of crime; that what would be seen as shocking had become commonplace, and what was seen as tragic but not unexpected had become something that barely registered.  As a society, the argument went, we had become sufficiently immune to violent crime that triggering outrage required increasingly horrific acts.

I thought of that phrase this week when Haley Barbour said that Mississippi wasn't so bad for blacks in the 1960s because of the good integration work done by the fine men in the Citizens Councils.  And we yawned and moved on with our holiday.  Er, I'm sorry, our Christmas which is best understood as tribute to the one true Lord and Savior, the Baby Jesus.  Didn't mean to attack the Christians like that.  I know it's hard to be a persecuted minority, subject to the disapproval of society during your holy time.  I hear there's a war on you.  Must be superhard to go through.

That's a Mississippi road sign from 1964, exactly the time Barbour was talking about this week.  Documentation like this - real easy to find.  But I have google chrome, so maybe that hasn't made its way to the Governor yet.

Let's be clear - just as the Klan was organized in response to the Reconstruction Amendments "you're gonna give blacks the right to vote - we'll see if they can vote when they're hanging from a tree" - the Citizens Councils were in response to Brown v. Board of Education "you're gonna declare Jim Crow unconstitutional - we're gonna punish any blacks who attempt to assert their rights:

On August 5, 1955 the local NAACP chapter submitted a petition bearing fifty-three signatures to the school board asking for immediate desegregation of all schools.  Stunned that the supposedly well-treated, contented black citizenry of Yazoo City would make such a move, the local Citizens’ Council move swiftly.  The first step was to run a large advertisement in the Yazoo City Herald listing the names of the petitioners, who had already been identified in the paper's account of the petition being filed.  Most of the petitioners were black professionals, businessmen, and tradesmen who seemed to have achieved a measure of economic independence that promised to insulate them from white pressure and coercion.  It soon became obvious, however, that NAACP leaders had underestimated the amount of economic influence the local whites still enjoyed over members of the black middle class in Mississippi.  One by one, those who signed the petition lost their jobs or whatever "business" or "trade" they had with whites.  Some blacks move quickly to remove their names from the list. Others held out but eventually followed suit.  Many of those who removed their names found it impossible to get their old jobs back, nor could they find new employment.  Many left town altogether.  Only those who were totally dependent on the black community for their incomes managed to survive economically.  By the end of the year only two names remained on the petition; both belong to people who had already left town.  And NAACP officials admitted that the local chapter had lost members as a result of the petition drive.  "We expected pressure," said another, "but not this much. We just weren't prepared for it."

It's an opportunity for insight.  The right wing hates being labeled as racist - the Civil War happened a long time ago, get over it.  Haley Barbour isn't a college student, he's fully formed and has pursued policies for decades based on his understanding of the world - and when he thinks about discrimination, he thinks about the Klan.  He knows that was wrong and knows groups like the Klan have been marginalized.  He doesn't take meetings with white supremacists in hoods.  Nosirree.

But who replaced the Klan were these Citizens Councils - white businessmen without hoods on.  No ropes, no lynching - but that kind of intimidation that worked for decades to suppress black participation in the political process.  When the public schools were integrated - they formed private schools.  When, a decade after Brown businesses became subject to federal discrimination laws - they formed private clubs.  The shorthand story of race in this country is this - slavery was protected in the Constitution by the founding fathers, the economic dependence on slavery increased in the south around the turn of the 19th century with the invention of the cotton gin, every piece of land the United States bought or stole in the first half of the 19th century - every new state and territory incorporated - was viewed at the time through the prism of slavery, with pro-slavery forces arguing vociferously that (in places where they knew they'd get the right outcome) the white men in those new states should get to decide if slavery would be legal or not; or (if they thought the vote might turn out differently) that new states needed to be "slave" states in the same percentage that slave states currently existed in the US.  Southern states, despite the modern desire to frame it otherwise - explicitly seceded based on the desire to maintain their system of slave labor - following the Civil War, which killed 600,000 Americans - 600,000 Americans dead over the issue of slavery - the south instituted a system of apartheid, in place for nearly a full century in which blacks were designated as second class citizens - it took decades of struggle, thousands of lives lost to unravel that system.  At every stage - it was fought by the full mechanism of business and government in the south; the southern soil is fertilized with the blood of those who died for racial equality.  And when the legal protections for segregation were taken away - that racism took the form of those business organizations like the Citizens Councils - and took electoral form in the "southern strategy" by the Republican Party, to stoke the fires of white resentment to the gains made by blacks and turn that resentment - those feelings that white people were the real victims, that reverse discrimination was the real problem - those "why isn't there a white history month" - "where's the National Association for the Advancement of White People" - "why is it okay to say Black Pride but not White Pride - where's the marches for white people" little snatches of conversation that one hears over a lifetime of discussing these matters - turn that resentment into political gain.  The zenith of that gain - the 2010 midterm elections.

We used to punish the Haley Barbours.  If it's Strom Thurmond or Trent Lott or Al Campanis - we used to have a floor below which one could not drill in failing to understand the reality of American racism.

But that was before Obama.  After Obama - Sarah Palin can be the Vice-Presidential nominee and question if Obama's really an American, really a Christian.  After Obama - Newt Gingrich can offer agreement with the thesis that Obama's Kenyan heritage makes him not really an American; Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh can call Obama a racist - with the sole weight of their evidence being that Obama is black.  The full weight of the pent up frustration of a healthy chunk of white America, that chunk that went into a fury about the OJ Simpson verdict - has been unleashed on Obama.  Health care reform = reparations.  The collapse of the economy = black people not paying their mortgages.  At exactly the same time when the gap between those who have and the rest of us is at unprecedented level - that chunk of white America turns its anger not upward - but downward.  Times are bad - who can I step on?

Barbour's comments are harmless; they don't cost anyone a job, don't take anyone's home - but what they reflect is a mindset that anything short of lynching is racial harmony; they misrepresent our past in the way the right has done with increasing regularity this year - turning the Constitution into a Christian document, turning the Progressive Era into an assault on freedom - and they misunderstand the American condition in 2010.  But just as Rand Paul questioned the merits of the Civil Rights Act and then was elected to the US Senate, just as Glenn Beck called Obama a racist with a deep seated hatred for white people and finished the year on the short list for Time's Man of the Year - in 2010, Barbour's comments slide right through, disappearing into the stream of crazy that passes for right wing thought.

2. Wrong About Everything.
Because, as Krugman noted, the right is wrong, and proven wrong, about everything.  30 years of failed policy leads us to the collapse of the American empire.  Our collective decision in 2010 - we need more!

When historians look back at 2008-10, what will puzzle them most, I believe, is the strange triumph of failed ideas. Free-market fundamentalists have been wrong about everything — yet they now dominate the political scene more thoroughly than ever.

And here's Robert Reich.

Since Ronald Reagan was president, median hourly wages have barely budged, and America’s vast working and middle classes have taken home a steadily smaller share of the nation’s income (adjusted for inflation). The typical male worker today is earning less than the typical male worker thirty years ago.
Yet the richest 1 percent of Americans is now taking home a larger percentage of the nation’s income than at any time since 1928. And we recall what happened in 1929.

But Obama's a socialist right?  Really anti-capitalist?  Right?

Corporate profits hit a record $1.67 trillion in the third quarter of 2010 -- up an eye-popping 28 percent from a year ago. Often, that would correspond with an increase in hiring, as companies use those profits to expand. But that's not happening. As we all know, unemployment inched up to 9.8 percent in November -- and by one measure, post-recession unemployment is at its worst since World War Two.

So you don't like liberal economists.  I understand.  How about CNN Money?  How will that do you?

The gap between the rich and the middle class is larger than it has ever been due to the bursting of the housing bubble.
The richest 1% of U.S. households had a net worth 225 times greater than that of the average American household in 2009

3. And Climate Change
2010 - the hottest year on record.

4. And who to blame?

You could start with Fox News.  As watching it makes you dumber.

The study found that daily Fox News viewers, regardless of political party, were "significantly" more likely than non-viewers to erroneously believe that:
  • Most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely)
  • Most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points)
  • The economy is getting worse (26 points)
  • Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points)
  • The stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points)
  • Their own income taxes have gone up (14 points)
  • The auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points)
  • When TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points)
  • And that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points)
And - here's Fox on climate change.

5. Don't We Need to Cut the Budget?
Next time you wonder where the money that doesn't go to fixing our infrastructure goes - why the potholes never get fixed and the public library's open 3 days a week - why the electricity goes off when it's windy or there are 50 kids in a public school classroom - next time you wonder why public colleges have hiring freezes or municipalities are defaulting on pension obligations.

Your money's gone to a military contractor.

• The United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says that we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest budget, China.

• The U.S. will spend more on the war in Afghanistan this year, adjusting for inflation, than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined.

6. War on Christmas.
If you think that Christians are the religious group persecuted in the United States, then you're an asshole.

If you want Christmas to maintain its position as the focus of all of American culture; then you probably have to think of it as holiday for everyone.  Which means that for many of us - its more cultural than religious.  You can have your ancient stories, I just want presents.

If you'd like to take it back from secularization - to put the Christ back in Christmas - that's cool too; it's your religion, do whatever the hell you want.  Christmas can be a time for you to focus on your savior.  Just fine.  And the rest of us can talk about the solstice or Kwanzaa or Festivus or however it is the culture will adapt.

If there's a War on Christmas, there has to be someone fighting besides Christians; 'cause, me, speaking on behalf of all secular progressives in that way that I do - we do not care.  Me, sometimes I say "Have a good Christmas" - sometimes "Have a good holiday" (apparently it's the word Merry that makes me queasy, much in the same way I'd never order a "Biggie" fries, it's a word for third graders).  I give neither statement much thought; either as religious affirmation or the converse.  It is as content-less for me as signing a classmate's yearbook, "have a good summer; keep it rockin'"

(I did sign more than one yearbook "Keep it rockin'."  I think it was ironic, but I can't specifically recall.

To those of my mindset - Christmas is just a word, more associated with Santa than Jesus - words are funny that way, once you have people who aren't true believers say them, then everyone sort of gets a cultural vote on their meaning.  Even if this state senator in Florida were to inexplicably get his way and "Merry Christmas" would become the official state method of referring to the holiday season, it wouldn't magically make your god any less imaginary to the rest of us.  The entirety of the anger is on one end - there are no bumper stickers saying "Take the Christ out of Christmas" - there is no equivalent to the experience I had Friday:

Me: You have a good holiday
Random Person at a place that repaired my eyeglasses: And you have a good Christmas.

Thinking Christians get screwed in the United States is like thinking white people get the short end.

Which many of them believe.  So there you go.

7. Creationist Theme Park
Meanwhile - tax dollars go here.  To a Kentucky theme park that will flat lie about the development of man.

8.  Hey, My Christmas was good.  Thanks for asking.

I got this

I got this

I got this.

I got this

Perhaps you see a theme developing.

What I didn't do was watch Donald Duck cartoons.  Like they do in Sweden.

Or get a puppy.  Like these kids did.

9. It Got Dark This Week

Super dark.

10. Your World Champion San Francisco Giants

We won 11 postseason games.  'Cause that's how many it takes.  Here was the first.  NLDS Game One.

The only run - Posey led off our 4th with a single off Lowe, then stole (wink, wink) second; two strikeouts and an intentional walk to Sandoval that I'm betting Bobby Cox regrets later came Cody Ross pushing a single into left to score Posey.  Lincecum went the whole way throwing a two hitter with 14 strikeouts and 1 walk.

10 wins away from a World Championship.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time, if there is a next time...

Your pal,


TBOR 2010 Athlete of the Year

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Maya Moore

For 21 years, since January of 1990, I've kept a record of the best sports performances for each week, month, and year.  I fudge a little on each week to limit each month to 4 weeks.  I award an athlete of the month, and finally, and athlete of the year.  Just for the past couple of years I've been putting this online, but over the past year I've been posting the old records as well. You can, were you so inclined, now find 1990-2001 here at the blog, as well as the last couple of years in real time. 

I've never chosen a woman as Athlete of the Year.  It's possible that's been error, but as I've worked my way through the old records, I can't say there's been a switch that I'd make.

I don't consciously think of this award as a reaction to that, nor do I think of it as a reaction to what has been an underappreciation of UConn's streak by the sports public.  But both might be in play. 

What's definitely in play is the following - in a year when no performance demanded the award (AP chose Brees, and he was my runner-up, but while his playoff run and Super Bowl were both good, they weren't spectacular, and while he's followed it with a good 2010 season, he isn't in MVP contention) taking the best player from the best team make sense; and UConn, having not lost a basketball game in the calendar year (and beyond) most of them not close, was the best team in 2010.  (or, hadn't lost a game in the calendar year)

Jimmie Johnson didn't win one of my Athletes of the Month, and therefore wasn't eligible, but I'd see a argument for his winning; Kobe Bryant didn't win one of my Athletes of the Month, and in the way that Johnson or Moore would have their candidacy given gravity by the cumulative weight of accomplishment, I can see an argument for his winning.  I don't think anyone else has a particularly good argument. 

So - left with Brees and Moore, I chose Maya Moore.  The Blog of Revelation 2010 Athlete of the Year.

I Pick Every NFL Game in 2010 - Week 16

Another winner last week.  In case you missed them, my Bowl picks are here.

Season record:
Against The Spread: 107-96-7
Straight Up: 135-75

Carolina +14.5 Steelers (Steelers win game) loss/win
Dallas -7 Arizona loss/loss
Jags -7 Redskins loss/loss
Niners +2.5 Rams loss/loss
Lions +3.5 Miami (Dolphins win game) win/loss
Titans +5 KC (Chiefs win game) loss/win
Bears -1 Jets win/win
Bills +8.5 NE (Patriots win game) loss/win
Browns +3.5 Ravens (Ravens win game) loss/win
Texans -2.5 Denver loss/loss
SD -7.5 Cincinnati loss/loss
Indy -3 Oakland win/win
TB -6 Seattle win/win
GB -3 NYG win/win
Vikes +14.5 Eagles (Eagles win game) win/loss
Atlanta -2.5 NO loss/loss

ATS: 6-10, 113-106-7
SU: 8-8, 143-83

TBOR Athlete of the Month - December, 2010 +2001 Athlete of the Year

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tom Brady.

Runners-up: Cam Newton, LeBron James, Maya Moore

You can get to the previous 11 months here.

Nov - Tim Lincecum
Oct - Matt Cain
Sept - Troy Tulowitzki
Aug - Josh Hamilton
July - Diego Forlan
June - John Isner
May - Rajon Rondo
April - Phil Mickelson
March - Maya Moore
Feb- Drew Brees
Jan - Peyton Manning

And so that's it.  12 nominees for 2010 Athlete of the Year.  I will award that on Christmas Eve.

Back in 2001, my Athlete of the Year was Barry Bonds.  AP also chose Bonds

January - Ray Lewis (Josh Heupel, Kerry Collins, Jennifer Capriati)
February - Allen Iverson (Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan)
March - Shane Battier (Shane Moseley, Jason Williams, Jason Gardner)
April - Tiger Woods (Hideo Nomo, Barry Bonds, Hasim Rachman)
May - Barry Bonds (Shaquille O'Neal, Randy Johnson, Kobe Bryant)
June - Shaquille O'Neal (Jennifer Capriati, Patrick Roy, Karrie Webb)
July - Lance Armstrong (Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Goran Ivanisevic, Cal Ripken)
August - Sammy Sosa (Greg Maddux, Danny Almonte, Roger Clemens)
Spetember - Bernard Hopkins (Venus Williams, Barry Bonds, David Carr)
October - Curt Schilling (Rickey Henderson, Randy Johnson, Mike Brown)
November - Jeff Garcia (Marshall Faulk, Jerry Rice, Ken Dorsey)
December - Tim Duncan (Ahman Green, Brian Urlacher, Jason Williams)

The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever 2011 Ed. #150-141

160-151 is here.

150. Jack Glasscock SS WARP+WAR=123.1
Translated BA/OBP/SLG .293/.350/.451
OPS+ 112
MVPQ (none) 1889 (15)

-The very first shortstop on the list; WAR (I use B-Ref) doesn't give positional value the importance I'd prefer, so shortstops, for example, are a little lower rated than is ideal; but our ability to analyze defense, particularly absent television games, is much less exact than our ability to analyze offense.  

149. Elmer Flick RF 123.1
OPS+ 149
MVPQ (none) Best season 1901 (15.6)

-An all time elite bat; I love me a 3/4/5 translated slashmark; Flick joins Shoeless Joe as the only guys on the list so far who post one (Olerud just missed, another reason why he was better than you think.)

148. Gabby Hartnett C 123.3
 OPS+ 126
MVPQ none, Best season 1935 (12.5)

147. Will Clark 1B 123.4
OPS+ 137
MVPQ 1989 19.7

-And the third 3/4/5 slashmark comes from Clark; my favorite ballplayer as a teenager.  Will was the Giants first baseman for 8 seasons; even in a relatively limited time, he's the 5th greatest San Francisco Giant ever, by WAR+WARP.

1986 - 5.1
1987 - 9.5 (untranslated slashline in the NLCS .360/.429/.560
1988 - 15.8
1989 - 19.7 (untranslated slashline in the NLCS .650/.682/.1200) 
1990 - 7.9
1991 - 12.5
1992 - 10.9
1993 - 4

 146. Jim Palmer RHP 123.5
ERA+ 126
MVPQ none, Best season 1975 (15.2) 

-Maybe a tick overrated in our collective sense of him; it took 20 years to get this total value - he just isn't the equivalent of the Seaver/Carlton class of pitchers from that era.  His fame adds to our thoughts, but Palmer's no higher than this.  

145. Pud Galvin RHP 123.9
ERA+ 108
MVPQ  1884 (25.4)

-Not Glavine; Galvin.  Okay, here's the thing - WAR overrates pre 20th century players, and where it specifically happens is that guys like Galvin break the formula in years like 1884, in which he threw...wait for it...636 innings (which actually was fewer than the year before).  That's just not the same game being played today.  So, subjectively, you'd take Galvin off this list.  

144. Willie Stargell LF/1B 124.1
OPS+ 147
MVPQ 1973 (16.1)

-Willie Stargell had a big ole' bat.  

143. Home Run Baker 3B 124.9
OPS+ 135
MVPQ  1912 (18.6), 1913 (18.3)

142. Billy Herman 2B 125.6
OPS+ 112
MVPQ none, Best season 1935 (15.2)

-His name was William Jennings Bryan Herman

141. Hal Newhouser LHP 125.7
ERA+ 130
MVPQ 1944 (16.8), 1945 (19.9), 1946 (18.7)

-3 consecutive MVPQ seasons get Newhouser here (Bunning would do the same thing 20 years later); as a positive, Newhouser's adjusted ERA is the second best of any pitcher on the list thusfar (and behind just Halladay, who still might lose points on the tail end of his career, and will finish higher on the list obviously than he currently sits); as a negative, he is pitching against a diminished field during the War.  

60 down.  140 to go.  See you in a week.   

The Weekly Tendown - Dec 12-18 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dear Internet:

The best sports photograph of the year.  It was just a couple weeks ago that the Heat were roundly described as a failed experiment - Bill Simmons picked them to lose decisively in that trip to Cleveland; discussion of "who should they trade" was heating up. 

As a general rule, it's good to temper one's desire to blow up a team based on a small sample size.  We're too fast and loose with other people's jobs. 

With that - here's Tendown 56.

1. Fire Mike Singletary.

I just can't stand him. 

The gigantic wooden cross around his neck, the neanderthal offense, the Chicago Bear lineage, the lack of interest in articulating a philosophy of football outside of "toughness" - there could not be less of a connective thread between the football team that he runs out on the field each week and the legacy built by Bill Walsh; from Dennis Erickson to Mike Nolan to this guy, we've spent the past decade hiring guys who can't get other head coaching jobs anywhere else in the league.  We are absolutely nowhere. 

But if we'd win football games, all of that would be fine.

I think about the transaction between me and my football team like this - they come to me and say "hey, we've got a coaching decision to make - I know you prefer Jim Schwartz, but what do you think about Singletary?"

And after some variation of that previous paragraph, I leave the discussion with "my vote is no - but I'll give it a good faith effort."

He's out of time now.  Playing in an all time bad division, we are 5-9, totally noncompetitive this past Thursday.  There is a fair path to making the playoffs; there is no path to salvaging this season.

I would rather lose those last two games than make the playoffs.  I'll pass up the home playoff gate for the bump up the draft board.  Let someone else be a sub .500 division winner.  I don't want it. 

There are personnel problems with the club.  Alex Smith is equally out of time; he and Samurai Mike can take the same flight out of town.  We don't know yet if Crabtree can play.  We still need an edge pass rusher.  And two cornerbacks. 

And while I don't hate anyone in the front office, there's no one you'd run into the building to save if there were a fire.

It can be whatever level of scorched earth housecleaning is thought needed.  If the new broom is going to err, it should be on the side of  sweeping toward cleanliness.

But what absolutely, unequivocally, needs to happen before Week One of whatever happens to be the next season played in the National Football League, is that Mike Singletary needs to be fired.  He's coached 39 games, it will be 41 by end of the regular season - we're under .500.  That's enough.  41 games is plenty.  Nolan got 55.  Erickson got 32.  41 is enough.  Next. 

2. The Shiva Bowl
Fantasy football playoffs start this week - I'm still alive in all 3 of my leagues (12 team $ leagues, all the money goes to the winner). 

League One - I went Britt over RBrown in my flex, and, as of this second, am taking Oakland over the Falcons as my defense.  Neither is my regular defense, but I grabbed the Falcons a couple weeks ago to get them against Carolina - and I might be wishcasting, but I just can't help but put my money where my mouth is and line up against Tebow's first start.  (rest of my starters - Peyton, McFadden, Mendenhall, Fitzgerald, Nicks, Witten, Akers)

League Two - I've ridden Cassel here, but with the appendectomy picked up Kitna off the street last week and am writing his name one more time; I'm going Maclin over Tampa Mike Williams as my flex.  Gates's injury has meant I've been shuffling TE - this week it's Zach Miller.  And, I picked up the Browns when they faced Carolina and am going with them again against the Bengals. (rest of my starters - Charles, Mendenhall, Bowe, Andre Johnson, Rackers)

League Three - This is the only league where I've already scored points - Tolbert earned me ten Thursday against my Niners (I caught a break in neither hitting Rivers nor Jackson in my matchups); I picked up Boss off the street to replace Gates, and am going with the NYG defense even against Vick and the Eagles (rest of starters - Both Peytons, Mendenhall, Bowe, Jennings, Akers).

My goal's to win 2, then split my title games next week and grab one title.  A modest goal but a reasonable one.

3. I Watch the Movies
Movie week at my house over the past 7 days. 

-Exit Through the Gift Shop (the best film I saw this week, consider pairing it with My Kid Could Paint That)

-The Joan Rivers Documentary (my Lady Type Friend didn't know the story of Johnny never talking to Joan again after she got her own show; I'm 40, she's 32 - so whereas I was in college when Johnny retired, she was still in middle school - Johnny was the freaking Godfather; Joan's not telling him before she signed the deal with Fox was a significant slight in the context of the era.   When NBC wanted to start Saturday Night Live - they went to Johnny for approval; when NBC was going to change their minds and give Dave the Tonight Show instead of Jay, one of the reasons Dave decided to go to CBS was a conversation he had with Johnny - now, that meeting was captured by Bill Carter's first book - but he missed a similar conversation between Conan and Johnny and I think it hurts his new book's thesis.  Carter clearly supports Seinfeld's takeaway from the Jay/Conan situation - that Conan took the idea of "The Tonight Show" too seriously - in 2010, that Conan would rather leave NBC than shift to midnight with Jay taking the 11:30 slot was fighting a war over an eggshell.  Johnny's show isn't Johnny's show anymore - timeslots, networks, all vestiges of a different world.  Perhaps - but Conan, on one of Larry King's final shows this month, alluded to a conversation he had with Johnny back in 2004 when the decision was made that he'd be taking the show from Jay; and my sense of things are perhaps Conan took from that conversation something different - the idea that he was carrying on Johnny's legacy; that when Conan wrote that open letter saying he wouldn't take part in the destruction of the Tonight Show - he wasn't just talking about moving it to midnight - he was talking about the entire Jay Leno era.  I think perhaps as Dave left his conversation with Johnny believing that he wouldn't really be taking Johnny's Tonight Show, he'd be taking Jay's - and that wasn't worth staying at NBC - that Conan left his conversation with Johnny thinking it wasn't some DVR'd block of corporately sponsored time that he was fighting for - nor was it the legacy of Jaywalking or the Dancing Itos - that Conan was making a stand for Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.  Maybe that's still not worth it - but it's an area of analysis perhaps Bill Carter could have more strongly considered.

-The Kids Are All Right - I didn't love it; it was fine, but no better than other Mark Ruffalo films; and if one wanted to place it within the "lesbians sure do secretly crave dick" canon I'm not sure I'd object. 

-The Michael Cera is in a Video Game movie.  The fight scenes were disinteresting to me; I'm not anti-video game, just agnostic; I like Cera and I'm a sucker for a film that is playfully directed; so you could pair this with 500 Days of Summer and I'm watching.

Incidentally - on both the latter discs (which I watched via Netflix) there were no special features - instead, clicking on special features led to a screen which said "hey, if you want any of this stuff, you gotta buy the disc".  A significant bummer.  I love me some special features but will not buy a disc to watch them and probably don't care enough about them to look for them through other avenues. 

4. I Read the Books
I read a terrific bio this week Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson It did what I like books to do, really placed Richardson in a broader social context - it's instructive, for example, to see the matter of fact racism of Frank Broyles, to recall that Richardson, in 1985 was the first black coach in any major sport in the SEC - it is very clear to see, in 2010, how much of the way that Richardson was understood by sports media was through a racial prism.  At the time, had you raised that idea (as I did) you would have been running hard against the mainstream narrative.  But that's what we clearly do - when events are occuring, our view is whatever is happening is what should be happening - that we had immorality in the past, but in the present, such attitudes are only on the fringes - and in fact - it's pointing out racial disparity that is the real problem.  We said that in 1985 - we said it 20 years before during the civil rights movement - and we say it today.  It's only looking back that the mainstream narrative becomes "there sure was a lot of racism we didn't see back in 1985 - good thing we're beyond that now" - without any recognition that (1) there were people who saw it then and (2) just as we were incapable of casting a critical eye on ourselves then, so are we today.  Within the discussion of what happened in the 2010 midterms - all the talk about the rise of the tea party and whatnot - consider instead the following:

The first black President got elected in 2008.

And the south made the Democrats pay in 2010.  To the tune of 19 House members and a Senator lost.

After this week’s elections, the Democratic Party barely holds a presence in the region outside of majority-black urban areas such as Atlanta and Memphis. The carnage for the party was particularly brutal in the Deep South, where just one white Democrat survived across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

If I'm still teaching US History in 25 years - when I talk about 2010, it won't be about the "tea party" - it will be about the push/pull of racial politics in the US - it'll be about the Southern Strategy, about the questioning of the Civil Rights Act by a soon to be Senator from Kentucky, about talk of secession by the Governor of Texas, about lawsuits from southern, white Republican attorney generals to nullify federal legislation - about the systematic attempt to delegitimize the first black President since the day of his election - and about white, southern voters coming to the polls at the midterm to vote for Republicans. 

5. And I'll Probably Mention This

In 25 years, opposition to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will look like opposition to the desegregation of the military.  Like opposition to the Civil Rights Act.  And the right wing then will attempt to say that they were the real proponents of gay rights, just as they attempt to say they were the real proponents of rights for blacks and women.  The right wing only exists because enough people lack the ability to separate facts from threats.

And the reaction from Christian hate groups will be treated the same way we treated those who opposed civil rights for blacks.

6.  Another Thought Experiment

This week, the Republicans blocked The Child Marriage Prevention Act.

This week, the Republicans blocked Health Benefits for 9-11 Responders.

Imagine if it were Democrats.  Imagine if it were Democrats.  How deeply burned into your brain would Fox News (with mainstream media right behind them) make these two votes - Democrats are pro child abuse; ten year olds are being forced into marriage and the Democrats don't care.  Brave Americans sacrificed on 9-11 and Democrats don't care.

Which was a bigger news story - that someone wanted to build a mosque near ground zero - or that Republicans blocked health benefits for 9-11 Responders?

Why do you suppose that is?  If the right wing wants a controversy - they get a controversy.  If the right wing wants the entire country talking about 9-11, it gets what it wants.

Or - consider Elizabeth Smart.

That's a tremendous Mother Jones piece about Mormons and child marriage - when Elizabeth Smart is kidnapped and held as a sexual prisoner, the way media processes that is that there are some evil, sick, twisted people in the world.

Here's the thing - those specific evil, sick, twisted people - sure did like to quote the Bible an awful lot.

Make it the Koran.  Make the kidnappers of Elizabeth Smart Muslim.  Make her a child bride taken because Allah requires it.

What is the story about then?  Just a random act of the sick, evil and twisted - unconnected with religion - unconnected with a bigger theme?  Is that the story?  Does anyone possibly believe that?

7. Sometimes They Tell the Truth
Spencer Bachus, the new chair of the Financial Services Committee, gave us a preview of how the Republicans will govern in the next Congress:

In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks,” 

8. But Generally They Lie
Non partisan Politifact named their Lie of 2010 this week.

So many to choose from.

But they chose government takeover of health care.

9. And Then C.T. Choked Everyone Out

An all woman team finally won the Amazing Race..  No, it's neither the game - nor the show - that MTV's Challenge is - but it's pretty damn good nonetheless.

10. The World Champion San Francisco Giants

This arrived at my house this week.

That's all for this time.  I'll see you next time...if there is a next time...

2010 NBA All Star Selections (v. 1)

Friday, December 17, 2010

We're past the quarter mark, I should have done this a week ago.

Here are my choices for the NBA All Stars thusfar.

C Horford
PF Stoudemire
SF James
PG Rose
SG Wade
C Howard
F Garnett
F JSmith
G Felton
G Harris
F Bosh
G Allen

C  Duncan
PF Gasol
SF Durant
PG Paul
SG Bryant
C Nene
F Nowitzki
F Love
G Williams
G Ginobli
F Millsap
G Westbrook

I Pick Every College Bowl 2010/2011

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My regular season record was 70-71-1

New Mexico:
UTEP +11.5 BYU (BYU wins game) loss/win

Northern Illinois over Fresno St. win/win

New Orleans:
Troy -2 Ohio win/win

St. Petersburg:
Louisville -3 So. Miss  push/win

Las Vegas:
Boise -17 Utah win/win
Boise v. Utah under 61 win

Navy +4.5 SD St loss/loss

Tulsa +10 Hawaii (Hawaii wins game) win/loss
Tulsa v. Hawaii under 73 loss

Little Caesars:
FIU +1.5 Toledo win/win

Air Force -3 Geo Tech win/win

Champs Sports:
WVA -2 NC St. loss/loss

Missouri -1 Iowa loss/loss

Maryland -7 ECarolina win/win

Illinois +1 Baylor win/win

Ok St. -5.5 Arizona win/win

Armed Forces:
Army +8 SMU win/win

New Era Pinstripe:
Syracuse +2.5 KSt. win/win

Music City:
NCarolina -2.5 Tenn win/win

Nebraska -13 Washington loss/loss

Car Care:
Clemson -5 SFlorida loss/loss

Miami -3.5 NDame loss/loss

UCF +7 Georgia (Georgia wins game) win/loss

SCarolina -3 FSt.loss/loss

Ticket City:
Northwestern +9.5 TTech (TTech wins game) win/win

Penn St. +8 Florida (Florida wins game) loss/win

Cap One:
Alabama -9.5 Mich St. win/win

Miss St. -4.5 Mich win/win

Wisconsin +2.5 TCU win/loss

OU -17 UConn       win   /win

VT +3.5 Stanford loss/loss

Arkansas+3.5 Oh St. loss/loss

Mid Ten +1 Miami Oh.loss/loss

LSU -1.5 A&M win/win

BBVA Compass:
Pitt -3.5 UK win/win

Kraft Fight Hunger (really?):
BC +10 Nevada (Nevada wins game) win/win

National Title:
Auburn -3 Oregon  push/win

ATS: 21-12-2
SU: 22-13

I Pick Every NFL Game in 2010 - Week 15

Last week, another winner, was here.

ATS: 98-89-7
SU 123-71

Niners +10 SD (Chargers win game) loss/win
Bengals -1.5 Browns win/win
Wash +6 Dallas (Cowboys win game) win/win
Titans -1.5 Houston win/win
Jags +4.5 Colts (Colts win game) loss/win
KC +1.5 StL win/win
Buff +5.5 Miami (Dolphins win game) win/loss
TB -5.5 Detroit loss/loss
Carol -2.5 Ariz win/win
Balt -1 NO win/win
NYG -3 Philly loss/loss
Atl -7 Sea win/win
Steelers -6 NYJ loss/loss
Den +6.5 Oak (Raiders win game) loss/win
GB +10.5 NE (Patriots win game) win/win
Minn +3.5 Chi (Bears win game) loss/win

ATS: 9-7, 107-96-7
SU: 12-4, 135-75

Three additional thoughts.

1. I'm in the playoffs in all 3 of my fantasy leagues.  Semifinals are this week.
2. My college bowl picks, straight up and against the spread, will be posted tomorrow.  All 35 games picked.
3. I should be ready to release my Athlete of the Year for 2010 next week.  I will have a firm, final decision by the 22nd.  That's a hint.

The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever 2011 Ed. #160-151

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

#170-161 is here.

160. Jake Beckley 1B WAR+WARP=120.7
Translated BA/OBP/SLG .291/.347/.486
MVPQ - none.  Best season - 1893 (10.1)

159. Sammy Sosa RF 120.8
OPS+ 128
MVPQ - 2001 (22.5)

A hundred years apart, the careers of Beckley and Sosa, with their identical translated OBPs meet in the 150s.  Sosa's 2001 is the very best season of anyone on the list thusfar.  

158. Duke Snider CF 121.1
OPS+ 140
MVPQ - 1955 (16.5) 1956 (16.3)

-Never had an elite glove, and really gave back some value defensively in the back half of his career, but the only bats on the list so far that compare are corners (Jackson, Medwick, Sosa, Vlad) Snider held a premium defensive position while putting up that 140 OPS+ and that's flat impressive.   

157. Dwight Evans RF 121.3
Red Sox
OPS+ 127
MVPQ - none, Best season 1981 (15.7) 

156. Tommy John LHP 121.5
Yankees/White Sox/Dodgers
ERA+ 111
MVPQ - none, Best season 1970 (12.1)

 155. Andruw Jones CF 121.5
OPS+ 111
MVPQ - none, Best season 2000 (15.3)

-Had a run, from '97-01, with the glove that maybe matches any in OF history.  He's an old 34 in 2011, but any value at all gets him into the top 150.  If he repeats his 2010, Jones will be #144 by season's end.  

154. Robin Ventura 3B 121.9
White Sox/Mets
OPS+ 114
MVPQ - none, Best season 1992 (14.7)

-And Ventura's glove was better than Jones's.  

153. Luis Tiant 122.1 RHP
Red Sox/Indians
ERA+ 115
MVPQ - none, Best season 1968 (14.8)

152. Dave Winfield RF 122.3
OPS+ 130
MVPQ 1979 (17.7)

-Really gets a slugging percentage bounce when translating those numbers to neutralize the SD ballpark effects.  

151. Bob Feller RHP 122.5
ERA+ 122
MVPQ 1939 (17.3) 1940 (18.8) 1946 (21.3)

-The first quarter of the list ends with Feller; if you were picking schoolyard sides from this first 50, not who had the best career, but who was the best player at a moment in time - if you were picking a bat, it would be Joe Jackson (I love a .300/.400/.500 translated slashline - Jackson's is .300/.400/.600) and if you wanted an arm, it would be Feller.  From '39-41, Feller's age 20-22 seasons, his combined WAR/WARP was 50+.  His next full season was '46, the best season by a pitcher on the list thusfar.  They road Feller hard, 300+ IP in all three of those '39-41 seasons and then almost 350 in '46.  He pitched another ten years and never had a season even half as good again.  

50 down.  150 to go.  In the next group - my favorite ballplayer as a teenager.  See you next week.

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