TBOR Athlete of The Month - August 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Josh Hamilton

Runners-up: Brandon Morrow, Alex Rodriguez, Adam Wainwright

Hamilton joins the other 7 monthly winners in the race for TBOR Athlete of the Year.  You can get to them here.

Back in '97, that winner was Tiger Woods.  He won the AP award as well.

Jan - Desmond Howard (Natrone Means, Dorsey Levens, Desmond Howard)
Feb - Dominic Hasek (Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Mark Jackson)
Mar - Mike Bibby (Keith Van Horne, Tony Gonzalez, Bobby Jackson)
Apr - Tiger Woods (Larry Walker, Kenny Lofton, Wayne Gretzky)
May - Roger Clemens (Tino Martinez, Tim Hardaway, Karl Malone)
June - Michael Jordan (Mike Vernon, Ernie Els, Tony Gwynn)
July - Martina Hingis (Pete Sampras, Roger Clemens, Justin Leonard)
Aug - Jeff Gordon (Roy Jones, Davis Love, Mark McGwire)
Sept - Barry Bonds (Ken Griffey, Charles Johnson, Mark McGwire)
Oct - Livan Hernandez (Gary Sheffield, Orel Hershiser, Charles Johnson)
Nov - Charles Woodson (Nick Van Exel, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis)
Dec - Barry Sanders (Corey Dillon, Jerry Rice, Brian Griese)

1st and Ten: The Weekly Tendown August 22-28 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dear Internet:

There are segregated middle school class elections in Mississippi.  In 2010.

Here's Tendown 41.

First: The Simplest of Jacks

Glenn Beck's I Have a Dream Speech was yesterday; it's hard to get overly agitated by Beck; he seems so transparently craven.  If the American public wants to buy his John Birch society wine in new bottles, I suppose they can.

Except his aren't just simple arguments about American history; they're outright falsehoods, like the separation of church and state was a myth; I had a conversation with a student awhile ago who believed such, she offered quotes from Madison and Jefferson that didn't seem remotely plausible, and it turns out they're fabricated by David Barton, Glenn Beck's "historian".  The student disbelieved this, instead taking the position that my education at "secular schools" disabled my ability to see the truth. 

There is an agreement we need to make about facts; as members of an academic community, as citizens of a democracy, as thinking reeds; there have always been those on the fringe of American thought who wore tinfoil hats, now we put them on Fox News and call them real Americans. 

The guts of Beck's March on Reality yesterday are his stated claim that King didn't fight for economic justice; you can see over and over again Beck's argument that the entirety of the King legacy is about color blindness (and who better to deliver that message in 2010 than the man who said the first African-American President has a "deep seated hatred for white people").  This is just factually incorrect.  At the time of King's assassination (he was in Memphis supporting a garbage strike, a month before he spoke to 1300 striking sanitation workers, "Don’t go back on the job until the demands are met. “Never forget that freedom is not something that is voluntarily given by the oppressor. It is something that must be demanded by the oppressed....If we are going to get equality, if we are going to get adequate wages, we are going to have to struggle for it.) he was organizing the Poor People's Campaign:

King spent the last months of his life organizing a popular movement aimed at disrupting the machinery of the United States until the passage of an Economic Bill of Rights;
“The dispossessed of this nation—the poor, both white and Black—live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which the society is refusing to lift the load of poverty.”

These are not King quotes that you would have heard from Beck's stage yesterday. 

The flaw is not entirely, or even largely, Beck's.  Our national consciousness has almost entirely erased King's economic radicalism, focusing only on the elements of his civil rights work now largely considered benign; King's a commodified, beatified marker for the notion that all men are created equal.  A notion that, when it comes to race, is accepted by even the most fact-free of the Simple Jack nation.

Except in Mississippi, that is, where the middle school class President has to be a white kid.

Like Muhammad Ali, King's had his edges dulled.  Our collective understanding of him has been limited to a greeting card, "gosh, wouldn't it be great if little black boys and little white boys could hang out together and stuff and there'd be no more fighting.  Boo on fighting!  I have a dream where people won't be mean anymore."

And we can all get behind that.  Corporations, elementary school teachers, Tea Partiers, Simple jack.  You.  Me.  We're all against mean people in the abstract.  Thanks, Dr. King.

But the guy who said:

 “It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty.”


The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspires men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life.


A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.


True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.


Any religion which professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them, is a dry-as-dust religion.

That's a voice we could use more of in our national debate in 2010.  Not to mention in Mississippi middle schools and tea party rallies on the Washington mall.    

And in Tennessee - where they set fire to the mosque site last night. Probably though, Howard Dean will tell us that's due to good faith issues that good, well intentioned Americans have with the placement of a mosque Murfreesboro.  Where they've had a mosque.  For 30 years.  Without incident.  Until now. 
After the jump - the rest of Tendown 41

2010 Emmy Predictions

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Emmys are Sunday.  I have thoughts.

Best Drama
Will Win - Mad Men
Should Win - Breaking Bad
If There's an Upset - The Good Wife

Mad Men had a terrific year; its best season, and probably I've written someplace that it's the best show on TV.  It's not that it's clearly behind Breaking Bad; it's more of a horses for courses situation - I'll take the emotional punch of the stripped down, barebones Breaking Bad over the more stylized Mad Men.  They're solidly the two best dramas on television; were Mad Men to win, that would be 3 straight - only two dramas have ever won 4 straight (guess!  guess what they are!  it's guessing time!  All right, fine.  Hill St. and West Wing.)

If there is an upset - I think the portion of the electorate desirous of a mainstream network drama to win the award might be able to sneak through a Mad Men/Breaking Bad splinter vote and give the trophy to the Good Wife.  It's not likely - Mad Men is at even money, but there's value in the Good Wife at 9-1. 

Best Comedy
Will Win - Modern Family
Should Win - 30 Rock

30 Rock's won 3 straight (Fraiser won an unconscionable 5 straight) it's still the best comedy on television, despite the pretty clear desire to annoint a new king, and I'd vote it first and Curb second, were I to have a ballot.  But Modern Family is pretty darn good and has a truckload of nominations - it would be a solid surprise if it didn't win.

Best Actor - Drama
Will Win - Michael Hall
Should Win - Er...ah...I'm going to say Jon Hamm

Bryan Cranston's won consecutive years, and three straight for a show no one watches seems a little heavy, but it wouldn't break my heart.  I'm rooting for Kyle Chandler; he won't win, but FNL has a little engine that could aspect I appreciate - Hugh Laurie and Michael Hall get to do the most scenery chewing and neither has won; I'd lean Hall takes the prize, but Laurie would be almost as likely to walk across the stage.  I'd vote for Hamm - he's Don Draper; too often the more subtle performances are overlooked in favor of histrionics, his is the heartbeat of the most awarded drama on the air.

Best Actress - Drama
Will Win - Juliana Marguiles
Should Win - Connie Britton

Britton has no chance to win, but this is an easy category for me; FNL is a decided step behind the two AMC shows in quality, but that puts it a step ahead of the rest of the field, and this is the recognition that I'd like to see it get.  Glenn Close has won consecutive years; she doesn't win again - it's a two horse race between Marguiles and Kyra Sedgwick; I'm going to say the full force of the networks comes into play here to give it to Marguiles. 

Best Actor - Comedy
Will Win - Tony Shalhoub
Should Win - Steve Carell

The appeal of Monk is lost on me - but not on voters who have given Shalhoub 3 previous Emmys and I'm going to say he takes a 4th.  Carell has no chance, but his was a more consistently funny performance to my eyes this season than was Baldwin's and they're really the only two contenders for my vote.  I picked Parsons last year, and if Shalhoub doesn't win he will; he's good, Big Bang is good, but it's too broad to compare, for me, to the elite performances in the category. 

Best Actress - Comedy
Will Win - Edie Falco
Should Win - Amy Poehler

-Is Nurse Jackie a comedy?  Falco's going to win; she'll be the first woman ever to win for leads in both comedy and drama - I wouldn't vote for her as a thirty minute show should no more automatically be considered a comedy than a 60 minute show (like Glee) should be considered a drama.  Collette won last year; if Falco somehow doesn't win (which strikes me as really, really unlikely) she does.  Poehler gave the best comedy performance of the group, and Parks went by the Office this season as the number two network comedy; it's not a hard vote for me. 

And the rest:

Supporting Comedy - Jane Lynch, Eric Stonestreet
Supporting Drama - Terry O' Quinn, Christina Hendricks
Reality Comp - Amazing Race
Late Night/Variety - The Tonight Show w/Conan
TV Movie - Temple Grandin
Mini Series - The Pacific
TV Movie Actor - Al Pacino
TV Movie Acress - Claire Danes
TV Movie Supporting - Patrick Stewart, Susan Sarandon

1st and Ten - The Weekly Tendown: August 15-21 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dear Internet:

First: Hey, did you hear they're building an Islamic cultural center in New York in an old Burlington Coat Factory?

This, apparently, is bothersome to people. 

About this, I have two thoughts.

1. Why?
2. So what?

Here's the piece from last December in the NY Times that first brought to national attention the "ground zero mosque."  The clerics behind the project said then what they have consistently said since, that it was an attempt to demonstrate the commitment to peace that most Muslims have, "We want to push back against the extremists."  Here was the statement from Bloomberg's director of immigrant affairs: "We as New York Muslims have as much of a commitment to rebuilding New York as anybody." 

Why isn't that taken at face value?  Why is the building of a mosque not viewed as a sign of harmony?  Here was George Bush, in 2007:

"Well, first of all, I believe in an Almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God. That's what I believe. I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace. And I believe people who murder the innocent to achieve political objectives aren't religious people, whether they be a Christian who does that – we had a person blow up our – blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City who professed to be a Christian, but that's not a Christian act to kill innocent people.

"And I just simply don't subscribe to the idea that murdering innocent men, women and children – particularly Muslim men, women and children in the Middle East – is an act of somebody who is a religious person."

George Bush.  Voice of religious tolerance. 

Look, from my perspective, Islam is largely a force of oppression and superstition.   Just like Christianity - I'm not a fan; if you ask me, "on balance, has organized religion been a force of good or bad" - I'd say bad; I'd say it confidently and without much hesitation.  Religion undermines our ability to think critically and pushes us instead to magic.

But I'm on the fringe.  I get that.   I live in Florida, where Christians bomb abortion clinics, kill obstetricians, have made gay couples ineligible to adopt and are planning a giant Koran burning  to commemmorate 9-11.  But despite my inclination to impute the very worst, most destructive, most bigoted, most terroristic behavior of Christians to all Christians - when I see a church, I don't really believe that everyone therein is engaged in systemic hostility. 

George Bush is right (?) Tim McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City in the name of Jesus, and yet churches have been built near the site.  And that seems not unreasonable to me.  Sure, I could connect a direct line from the language of the Bible to the violence committed in the name of Christianity, and discuss how the lack of outrage from moderate Christians at, say, the decades long messages of hate that come from the Pat Robertsons of the world emboldens the more outrageous actions of the terroristic Christian fringe; and I could further discuss how there has been a mainstreaming of the worst, most intolerant, most xeonophobic elements of the right wing, such that the President most married to conservative Christianty in US history could have, just 3 years ago, taken a position that, in 2010, would draw howls of derision on Fox News.

I'm, to use O'Reilly's epithet, a "secular progressive."  But I recognize the worst elements of Christianity are not all elements of Christianity. 

And even if I didn't, so what?

Howard Dean's argument this week was we really need to listen to Americans who are sincerely bothered by this Mosque.

No, we don't.

Here's the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649:

That whatsoever person or persons within this Province and the Islands thereunto helonging shall from henceforth blaspheme God, that is Curse him, or deny our Saviour Jesus Christ to bee the sonne of God, or shall deny the holy Trinity the father sonne and holy Ghost, or the Godhead of any of the said Three persons of the Trinity or the Unity of the Godhead, or shall use or utter any reproachfull Speeches, words or language concerning the said Holy Trinity, or any of the said three persons thereof, shalbe punished with death and confiscation or forfeiture of all his or her lands and goods to the Lord Proprietary and his heires.

Deny Jesus - and we'll kill you.

That was colonial America.  That was the exact reason for the separation of church and state.  That's why the establishment clause - that the US has no state religion - is first among all of the freedoms protected in the Bill of Rights.  And it's why Christian identity groups like the KKK have rightly been moved to the dustbin of history.  Christians don't stand with the Klan - they disavowed them decades ago.  And here's why - from a 1999 FBI report:

Christian Identity also believes in the inevitability of the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ. It is believed that these events are part of a cleansing process that is needed before Christ’s kingdom can be established on earth. During this time, Jews and their allies will attempt to destroy the white race using any means available. The result will be a violent and bloody struggle -- a war, in effect -- between God’s forces, the white race, and the forces of evil, the Jews and nonwhites.

"The view of what Armageddon will be varies among Christian Identity believers. Some contend there will be a race war in which millions will die; others believe that the United Nations, backed by Jewish representatives of the anti-Christ, will take over the country and promote a New World Order. One Christian Identity interpretation is that white Christians have been chosen to watch for signs of the impending war in order to warn others. They are to then physically struggle with the forces of evil against sin and other violations of God’s law (i.e., race-mixing and internationalism); many will perish, and some of God’s chosen will be forced to wear the Mark of the Beast to participate in business and commerce. After the final battle is ended and God’s kingdom is established on earth, only then will the Aryan people be recognized as the one and true Israel."

"Christian Identity adherents believe that God will use his chosen race as his weapons to battle the forces of evil. Christian Identity followers believe they are among those chosen by God to wage this battle during Armageddon and they will be the last line of defense for the white race and Christian America."

That's the Klan. 

I'm sure they believe it.  I'm sure they have genuine, good faith concerns and beliefs that motivate them to oppose the building of an Islamic cultural center at the site of the Burlington Coat Factory. 

But so what?  We have a history in this country of persecution of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.  Which, more than we haven't, we've been able to overcome.  I couldn't be elected President without a professed belief in Jesus - but I can go to Baltimore and not get stoned.  So - upgrade.

You don't like mosques.  So what?   Don't go into one.  But the rights of a religious minority to practice no more depend upon your comfort with that practice than the rights of Christians to practice depend on my comfort.  If I walk to First United Methodist down the street and suggest they close their doors because of my disagreement with the murder of obstetricians what do you suppose will be the reaction I'll receive?

Incidentally - the above FBI report from '99 discussing Christian identity groups was about domestic terrorism concerns around the turn of the millennium.  Those views = terrorism back in 1999.

What would Tea Partiers think about that passage in 2010?  How about Sarah Palin.  Or Sharron Angle?

Is it still domestic terrorism - or a too often neglected view of many Americans that we need to pay attention to?  Sometimes, in the aftermath of Obama's election as we've heard the right wing say "we want our country back" - I've responded by asking "from whom?" - but perhaps the better question is "and who are you who have lost your country?"

Who are you - right wing?  Who are you in 2010?   

Me - I'm a guy teaching 10 courses now.  So, as long as that's the case - I got one thought and then nothing but links.  After the jump - the rest of Tendown 40.

1st and Ten: The Weekly Tendown August 8-14 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dear Internet:

Sure hope the check cleared.

Let's do Tendown 39.

First: Via ovicipitum dura est

My favorite general election Presidential candidate from either of the two parties in US history was Adlai Stevenson.  Here he was accepting the nomination in 1952:

Let's talk sense to the American people! Let's tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions, like resistance when you're attacked, but a long, patient, costly struggle which alone can assure triumph over the great enemies of man - war, poverty and tyranny - and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each.

Adlai got his clock cleaned  by Ike in both '52 and '56 - and had to wear the appellation hung on him by Ike's running mate Nixon --- egghead.

The way of the egghead is hard was the first of Stevenson's retorts.  Of course he said it in Latin.  His second was a joke: "eggheads of the world Unite!  You have nothing to lose but your yolks"

I'm guessing in 2010, a national politician couldn't say either.  Latin would be unpardonably elitist and a joke referencing Marx would feed the right wing hate machine for weeks.  In '52, Nixon called Stevenson an egghead to portray him as overly intellectual, out of touch with the common man; today, it isn't just politicians who succeed pandering to the least common denominator, running away from thoughts which need to be expressed in polysyllables seems to be a virtue across our national landscape.

Here's a piece from the NY Times this week about the current rock star on the Food Network, Guy Fieri:

“You feel like he has that same background just like you do, never pretentious, nothing fancy,” observed Ami Wilson, who went to the Atlantic City event with her husband, Matthew, a police officer in central New Jersey.

Kathleen McCormick, who brought her two teenage sons to see Mr. Fieri from their beach house nearby on the Jersey Shore, said, “He’s the only one who never talks down to anybody.” (She said that other cooking shows were “too preachy” for them.)

Congratulations, Kathleen.  You're quoted in the New York Times, almost certainly the single moment in your life in which your ideas reach their greatest audience - and you criticize television chefs for thinkin' they're all big. 

The premise of the piece in the Times is that the same vein of anti-intellectualism tapped into by Sarah Palin (nothing should be too complex that you can't write it on your hand) runs its way throughout our culture; my argument would be its pumped by the muscle of economic anxiety.  In times perceived as more prosperous,  it was Simon Cowell grabbing our national consciousness, condescending and snide; slapping us around like a hooker Don Draper hired on Thanksgiving in '64.  But post economic collapse, foreign accents render you suspicious (and foreign accents plus dark complexions will get you a demand to see your citizenship papers in Arizona); what we want is affirmation that ours are the correct values and choices (let's return to founding principles!) and what we need are scapegoats.  The immigrants are taking our jobs.  Obama's policies are designed to help blacks.  The democrats are turning welfare and unemployment into a virtue.  And when people with advanced degrees talk about global warming (or evolution) as factual; when they note that a committment to reduce the deficit can't be reconciled with the desire to continue the Bush tax cuts for those who make over a quarter million dollars a year; when instead of bowing to anti-Muslim bigotry they point out that, as opposed to the US being a "Christian nation" it was specifically designed by those founding fathers to whom the right gives lip service as governmentally godless;  they are called out of touch with the concerns of real Americans.  For over a decade, my boots have been on the ground in what should be our national war against ignorance, against supersitition, against know-nothingness, but each year, my ability to reach my students depends less and less on what I know and more on more on how personally and emotionally relatable I can be.  It's not exactly the life of the mind I signed up for.

My favorite quote from Stevenson was in his concession to Ike in '52, "it hurts too much to laugh and I'm too old to cry." 

And that's where we are here, at the end of the American empire.  August 2010. 

After the jump - the rest of the tendown.

SummerSlam 2010 - Preview

Friday, August 13, 2010

For reference, my Wrestlemania 26 preview is here.  My 2009 SummerSlam preview is

Kirk Hiner and I have written a produced play together, an unproduced sitcom together, started a professional comedy troupe together - you can find his solo work here (for which he is paid - paid straight cash to write the words) and you're reading my solo work right now.  Left to right and everything.  For free.  You're welcome.  Me, I think it's time to give our play away - put the script up on the interwebs so it can be part of our public record; the only obstacle to your (yes, your!) reading the majestic Spoon Millionaires right now, sharing your favorite lines on the Facebook, passing along our script to some of your well connected friends who, in turn, would then take us away from our wage slave lives and allow us to live, fat and happy, on a sex farm, stretchin' in your pea patch, plowin' through your beanfield, are the whims of Kirk Hiner, all protective of his intellectual property and whatnot. 

For each of the 4 traditional WWE PPVs, I write a preview in this space, really designed just to carry Kirk Hiner through the WWF narrative; we've been doing some version of this since WM 13; for a few years it was every PPV (WCW and ECW too) even if I had to report through squigglevision.  I want to say I gave star ratings to those matches ("Am I crazy - or did Billy Gunn just start throwing blockbuster suplexes all over the goddamn ring?  3 3/4 stars!") And for a few years it was by phone - I transcribed and read Austin's 3:16 speech from KOTR and Hogan's heel promo when he joined the NWO.  I did it with verve and gusto. It is part of our heritage.

So, you who aren't Kirk, are welcome to stay (losers) but largely I'm just talking to him.  How are the kids?  Do you have a fantasy draft date - I'm not ready as I sit here, but can get ready with some warning.  I've got a light Labor Day week, so I've scheduled both of mine then. Hey, right now I'm watching the opener to Hard Knocks - Joe Namath's face is melting like he's just been shown the ark of the covenant. 

SummerSlam is Sunday from...LA, I think - it was there last year too, I wonder if that's a thing they're doing now since Vince got his Walk of Fame star (I think they put him next to George Takei.  Balloon knot. Oh, my.)  This is the 23rd Summer Slam; at the bottom, I'll list the best SSlam matches ever like I do.  Here's the card:

Elimination Tag Team Match:
Team WWE (John Cena, Bret Hart, R-Truth, John Morrison, Edge, Chris Jericho, & ?) vs. The Nexus (Wade Barrett, Skip Sheffield, Michael Tarver, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Darren Young and David Otunga)

-The driving story through the summer has been turning the developmental wrestlers who comprised the opening season of the NXT show on Sci Fi (now called Scy Fy or perhaps there are accent marks or random Z's thrown in someplace) into a heel stable (Nexus, which I'm pretty sure is a dandruff shampoo "Nexus - strong enough for a man - but made for a woman").  NXT was (is) pretty bad, ostensibly they have a "season" where the developmental prospects are put through challenges (lift this heavy thing - do these laps around the ring - cut a promo from a word you draw out of a hat.  Sing that if you would, just like I'm doing in my head - it could be a square dance lyric.  Bow to your partner.  Bow to your left hand lady) that lead to the selection of one who is offered a contract.  The star in the first season was Bryan Danielson, who I've been mentioning for about a decade as an all time great wrestler; similar to the way I talked to you about Benoit and Eddy as they made their way through the ranks.  If I was picking one guy, out of everyone in the world, to start my wrestling company, it would be Danielson.  Even in the world that actually exists, as opposed to the one I see in my fever dreams, there's no reason why they couldn't bring Danielson back Sunday, put him over - and build him to be in the main event of WM 27 and have it do every dollar as well as if it was anyone else on the roster. 

Of course, what they did with him on NXT was beat him in every match and have Michael Cole insult him repeatedly from the announce for being a creation of internet hype.  'Cause it's WWF and that's how they get down.  I finally understand that He Hate Me jersey. 

By the end, however, they had salvaged a really fresh feeling storyline pitting Danielson against the WWF structure - and from that came the whole group invading RAW - wiping out Cena and all the ringside personnel. 

Danielson, unfortunately, got legit. fired as a result of the invasion for being excessively violent. 

That seems like a work, I know - they script an invasion that is designed, specifically, to feel different than the rest of the programming - and when it does, they fire a guy (who happens to be the best wrestler in the hemisphere, and one of the greatest workers who ever lived) for it. 

But that's WWF.  And that same managerial style could now be headed to the US Senate.

Anyway - the storyline continued, with Nexus attacking heels and faces alike, and now we have an elimination match to settle things. 

Cena remains the top guy in the company; with or without the belt, he is, maybe more than ever before now that Michaels has retired, Batista's deal expired, Undertaker's hurt, none of the McMahons have a presence as TV characters, and Hunter left to shoot a film and then got injured while away - Cena is clearly the dominant face of the company.  Bret didn't leave after Mania - he became the GM - but was wiped out by Nexus (the GM is now a mystery, he sends Michael Cole emails - it's a little worse than silly) and has just returned to join the team.  Killings and Morrison are babyface allies - but Morrison's grown a beard in recent weeks and bearded men are not to be trusted.   Edge turned heel after WM, he and Jericho are reluctant "we don't want to team with a bunch of faces, with their butter soft lips and farmer's tans, but we sure do hate the Nexus" heels.  The 7th guy was originally Great Khali, he's out in an injury angle (pulled his suck muscle, he's in serious but stable condition) so they have a mystery partner who is teased to be the Miz, who is currently getting pushed.  Meanwhile, Coral works at Chick Fil A. 

None of the Nexus guys is worthy of being in a Summer Slam main event - which is the wrinkle in what is otherwise both a good idea that has largely been well executed.  Gabriel is the best worker, Barrett the best talker, Otunga is married to Jennifer Hudson (she's the one who won the Oscar, Fantasia's the one who tried to kill herself.  Update your records.)  But none of them is really positioned to stand out at this level - and none is a good enough worker to interest me.  I assume the heels win to continue the program.

WWE Championship Match:
Sheamus (c) vs. Randy Orton

-When we last left off, Cena took the RAW strap at 26 from Batista - but he dropped to Sheamus at the June PPV, it's his second run with the belt.  Orton remains a babyface, he won a good 3 way against Jericho/Edge to get the number one contender slot - there's a no outside interference stip - as Nexus has interfered to aid Sheamus in the past (teasing his joining them - but it felt more like a swerve or that they had yet to decide what they were doing) and there's an Orton doesn't get another shot if he loses stip.  I'll say they switch to Orton as I have the heels winning the big match.  It could be okay - Orton's style has moved from methodical to occasionally coma inducing - Sheamus isn't bad at working WWE style.  I don't hate this match. 

World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Kane (c) vs. Rey Mysterio

-I do hate any match with Kane. 

When we left off, Jericho was the Smackdown champ - but he dropped to Jack Swagger, who dropped to Mysterio, who dropped to a heel turning Kane.  Kane's RAW championship was a dozen years ago - the span between the two runs longer than the distance between Backlund losing to Hogan and then retaking the strap in his heel run in the 90s.  Counterfactual Mr. Backlund was funny.  I had him yelling Semper Fi and screaming about the Tojos.  The storyline is Kane apparently put the Undertaker in a "vegetative state" - he's been down most of the summer after breaking an orbital bone in a match against Rey.  Rey beat Swagger to get this shot.  Kane probably keeps, we've got to do the feud with he and the Undertaker that I can skip.  I'm thinking that Undertaker's turning out to be alive is part of their long right wing plan to juice up the Terry Schiavo case again.  "She could have been just fine!  The Undertaker came back to life!  Terry Schiavo could have gone on to face Ezekial Jackson at Wrestlemania!"  No truth to the rumors that Linda has been in a persistant vegetative state since 1977.

WWE Intercontinental Title Match:
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Kofi Kingston (Possible additions: Christian, McIntyre, Cody, Matt)

-They're making this match this week in the go home Smackdown. Drew McIntyre was IC Champ when last we left - he was stripped and reinstated - then dropped to the interim champ, Kofi Kingston - who then dropped to Ziggler, who is currently managed by, and probably storyline dating Eddy's widow Vicki.  This is a good enough match on its own (although it wouldn't be given any time - Smackdown is the extra bastard child now) as both Ziggler and Kingston are good looking young wrestlers.  One advertisement had the other four guys (Christian, still a face but maybe kinda turning - the heel McIntyre, heel Rhodes now doing a "don't hit my face" gimmick, and Matt) joining the match.  This becomes the most important match to me for Counterfactual purposes.  And what's more important than that, really?  A Jewish homeland?  A safe and secure Jewish homeland?  Is that your suggestion?  Your priorities are askew, let me suggest.

3-on-1 Handicap Match:
Big Show vs. The Straight Edge Society (CM Punk, Luke Gallows and Joey Mercury)

-Punk's feud with Rey was truncated - Punk's losing a headhaving stip - he then took to wearing a mask, which wound up being removed by the Show, and here we are.  Punk injured his arm at some point over the summer, presumably banging one of the divas (you're supposed to work from the trunk when you bang; really let your P90X crafted core do most of the work; I read that in one of those Robert Fulgham books) which has meant his lackeys are carrying the ball in the ring with this program.  He's scheduled to work - could be that he's healthy enough to now do so or they'll protect him.  I don't know.  This isn't really designed to be much of a match, hopefully they'll move Punk away from this program soon.  Smackdown looks bleak sometimes.  Like a mall no one goes to anymore. 

A Women's Match I Won't Watch.

That's the show.  Doesn't really look promising from a work perspective - the elimination match probably winds up being the best match on the show, and if it's a penny above 3 1/2 stars I'd be surprised.  I wouldn't look for anything to crack the following list:

Top 10 Summer Slam Matches of All Time

1. Bret d. Owen  (94) 32 min 4 3/4 stars

2. DBS d. Bret (92) 25:30 min. 4 3/4 stars

3. Edge/Christian d. Hardys/Dudleys  (00) 15 min. 4 1/2 stars

4. HBK d. Razor (95) 25 min 4 1/2 stars

5. Punk d. Jeff (09) 19:30 min 4 1/4 stars

6. Bret Hart d. Mr. Perfect (91) 18 min 4 1/4 stars

7. Undertaker d. Edge  (08) 26:30 4 stars

8. Brainbusters d. Hart Foundation  (89) 16:30 4 stars

9. Benoit v. Jericho (00) 13 min 4 stars

10. Shawn Michaels d. Vader  (96) 29 min 4 stars

And that's our preview.  Summer Slam 2010.    

All Time San Francisco Giants Roster - Career Value/Top 20 San Francisco Giants of All Time

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This is the last of the series, you can get to the rest of them here. 

This is career value by San Francisco Giants (so Mays before '58 and Bonds before '93 doesn't count).

WARP is first, WAR is second.  Here's the All Time San Francisco Giants 25 man roster.

C Tom Haller 19, 18.8
    Bob Brenly 19.6, 18.1

1B Willie McCovey 66.2, 60.6
      Will Clark 47.9, 37.5

2B Jeff Kent 41.6, 32.9
     Robby Thompson 34.4, 31

SS Chris Speier 30.9, 18.1
     Rich Aurilia 25.3, 15.5

3B Matt Williams 41.5, 31.7
     Jim Ray Hart 22.8, 24.4

Uti Darrell Evans 25.3, 21.5
     Kevin Mitchell 26.1, 19.4

LF Barry Bonds 129.6, 121.6
     Orlando Cepeda 35.1, 28.9

CF Willie Mays 108.6, 115.4

RF Bobby Bonds 38.3, 36.9
      Jack Clark 27.8, 30.7

P Juan Marichal 63.4, 64.7
   Gaylord Perry 36.5, 41.2
   Jim Barr 31.1, 28.1
   Gary Lavelle 28.8, 18.5
   Matt Cain 31.9, 24.6
   Tim Lincecum 29.4, 22.5
   Jason Schmidt 17.7, 19.5
   Mike McCormick 17.5, 16.7

(That's an 8 man staff, I took Mitch and Evans as extra position players as opposed to two more pitchers - if you were looking to round out a top ten SFG pitchers of all time, they would be Minton and Nen).

Top 20 San Francisco Giants of All Time (just adding career WARP and WAR as a member of SFG)  Updated to include 2010 season

1. Barry Bonds
2. Willie Mays
3. Juan Marichal
4. Willie McCovey
5. Will Clark
6. Gaylord Perry
7. Bobby Bonds
8. Jeff Kent    
9. Matt Williams
10. Robby Thompson
11. Orlando Cepeda
12. Jim Barr
13. Jack Clark
14. Matt Cain
15. Tim Lincecum
16. Chris Speier
16. Gary Lavelle
18. Jim Ray Hart
19. Darrell Evans
20. Kevin Mitchell

1st and Ten: The Weekly Tendown, August 1-7 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dear Internet:

My first and most enduring memory of Jerry Springer is from his running for the Democratic Party's nomination for Governor of Ohio in..let's say '82, if it turns out to be a year or two away from that, don't hold it against me.  Springer had to pull out of the race after a prostitution scandal, and either made a campaign ad or had a press conference that included a line that (except for the number I'll use in the quote, which I've forgotten) I remember verbatim, "About 9 years ago I spent time with a woman I shouldn't have.  I paid her with a check."  It was probably six months before I stopped saying that virtually every day.  That was probably the same time period where all I ate was canned chili.  My brain gets stuck in certain grooves. 

Today, Jerry Springer hosts a game show, Baggage; it's a Dating Game variant; a contestant picks from among 3 potential suitors.  The twist is they all reveal increasingly embarrassing details about themselves (hence - Baggage) that causes their eliminations until we have the winner.  One round contains blind baggage, where we are told the embarrassing detail (like, "I have never had sex, and I don't plan to" or "I spent 90 days in a Canadian prison..") but have to wait for the reveal of to whom it belongs.  That's the best moment of the show, where the potential suitors walk around the now opened briefcases, teasing to which they might be attached ("I slept with my landlord for cheaper rent." or "I have 8,000 Star Wars action figures") and every episode, they pull the What's My Line style fake out, standing momentarily next to what will turn out to be another contestant's briefcase before then moving to the correct one ("I shave all my body hair" or "I'm the new backup center for the Boston Celtics.")

Why it's the best moment is the audience (I don't know that there's an audience, it could be entirely a canned effect) always gasps when the fake out occurs ("!  Do you see what they did?  The guy who was standing next to the "I live with 8 other guys" briefcase just switched places with the "I've paid for sex." guy!  Craziness!").

I enjoy that gasp.  I heard it this week.

In explaining the concept of negative liberty to my American Government class, I talked about my taking this course as an undergrad and recalling that my midterm contained the question "What are the first five words of the Bill of Rights?"

Don't cheat. 

The answer is "Congress shall make no law" and, while I don't recall if it was contextualized in this way when I took the course, why it matters is the Bill of Rights were designed to put restraints on the power of government (yes, positive liberty exists as well, one doesn't preclude the other). I don't much like trick questions, but I do ask one on my midterm exam, "What constitutional amendment gives you freedom of speech.  This is a trick question." The answer is none of them - the Bill of Rights doesn't give you freedom - the United States government doesn't give you freedom - the Bill of Rights says the government can't take away your freedom of speech, "Congress shall make no law" - you have freedom of speech just because you're alive.

I took that American Government class the first quarter of my sophomore year, which was the fall of 1989.

And when I said that year, 1989, like a walking Public Enemy song, that's when I got the Baggage gasp.

I'm from the past.  I am a man from the past.

This week, I watched Hot Tub Time Machine.  It's not a particularly good movie, and Craig Robinson's Black Eyed Peas performance looked to me less like a Back to the Future homage and more like a lift, but what I did enjoy was that the 1980s were framed as Back to the Future framed the 50s - they are the past - the clothes, the music, the feeling of living in 1986 is as close to today as the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance felt to me when I was 15.

I come from the past!  Where we danced the Charleston and killed Injuns and sailed on Columbus's 4th ship that disappeared off the edge of the earth.  Welcome.

Let's do Tendown 38.

First:  The GOAT Goes to the Hall of Fame
At some point, I'll do a list of the Greatest Bay Area Athletes of all time; both for amateur and professional performances - so Bill Russell's college career would count, for example.

Spoiler alert - Jerry Rice is gonna win.

Aw, hell - off the top of my head:

1. Jerry
2. Barry
3. Willie
4. Joe
5. Rickey

I'll need to do more work on that; the point is that if you make me choose, just based on what they did in the Bay Area; I think it's Rice.  Sooner than later, I'll run the new numbers on the career value of the SFGiants, but I'd expect, even taking his Pittsburgh work out, that Bonds will come out ahead of Mays; obviously both are ahead of Henderson (I'm wrong, Barry is solidly ahead in WARP, but Mays is enough ahead in WAR to get past Bonds - flip them in the rankings)  I've got Jerry as the top WR ever by a distance that pretty significantly exceeds any of my other NFL positional rankings, which would slide him ahead of Montana. 

(Who else would be on the list - Niners...Tittle and Brodie and Steve; Cross and St. Clair.  BY, Haley, Wilcox, Nomellini. Ronnie. TO.  Dwight.  Jimmy Johnson, John Henry Johnson, Joe Perry, Hugh McElhenny, Roger...that's 19...Gene Washington. Done.  I'll do Giants and A's more systmatically.  I finished my look at every SFG team ever this week. GSW...Rick Barry, Mullin, Thurmond, Hardaway, Larry Smith, Purvis Short..Al Attles..Baron Davis..Jeff Mullins....Wilt.  Let's say that's the top 10.  Raiders, but not LA....Stabler, Plunkett, Upshaw, Shell, Otto, Tim Brown, Branch, Biletnikoff, Hendricks, Willie Brown, Casper, Lester Hayes, Lamonica, Guy, Dalby, Tatum, Lechler, Van Eeghan, Asomugha...let's say Blanda for 20).

But ahead of them all (and Mark Spitz and McEnroe, and Elway and everyone else you got) would be Rice.

Here's a ranking of the ten best moments of his career..  Here's some never before seen practice footage.

My baseball life has been largely solitary.  Baseball cards, Bill James Abstracts, scrambling to find out of town radio broadcasts - WLW in Cincinnati, maybe even KMOX in St. Louis - The Baseball Encyclopedia - keeping score during almost every game - I have always felt the very most like who I am when I am immersed completely in my head, and baseball has been the easiest delivery system for my solipsism. 

But football was different - most of my football memories are watching the Niners with my parents; if I spent 90% of the 1980s isolated, the other 10% was in one of our various living rooms watching the 49ers.  Those games are the very best memories of my childhood. 

Missed my dad yesterday.  Hard to be a person from the past some days. 

After the jump - the rest of the Tendown

The Best...The Worst...All Time San Francisco Giants

Friday, August 6, 2010

So, did I go over every season by every San Francisco Giant...ever?

Yes, yes I did.  This is, in fact, the all time best and worst San Francisco Giants ever.

The Fifties and Sixties are here.

The Seventies are here.

The Eighties are here.

The Nineties are here.

The 20-Aughts are here.

The All Time Best San Francisco Giants by Position

C Dick Dietz - 1970
(Runner Up - Bob Brenly - 1984)
WAR  4.5
WARP3  5.2
OPS+ 152
Translated Line: .319/.435./563

1B Will Clark - 1989
(Runner Up - Willie McCovey - 1967)
WAR  9.4
WARP3 10.3
OPS+ 175
Translated Line: .379/.456/.660

2B Jeff Kent - 2000
(Runner Up - Jeff Kent - 2002)
WAR  7.9
WARP3 9.3
OPS+ 162
Translated Line: .347/.430/.616

SS Rich Aurilia - 2001
(Runner Up - Chris Speier - 1972)
WAR 6.5
WARP3 9.4
OPS+ 146
Translated Line: .324/.369/.572

3B Matt Williams - 1993
(Runner Up - Matt Williams - 1994)
WAR 5.6
WARP3 7.5
OPS+ 136
Translated Line: .301/.338/.610

LF Barry Bonds - 2001 - The Greatest Season in SFG History
(Runner Up - Barry Bonds -2002 The Second Greatest Season in SFG History)
WAR 12.5
WARP3 13
OPS+ 259
Translated Line: .328/.515/.863

CF Willie Mays - 1965
(Runner Up - Willie Mays - 1964)
WAR 11
WARP3 11
OPS+ 185
Translated Line: .342/.429/.718

RF Bobby Bonds - 1973
(Runner Up - Bobby Bonds - 1969)
WAR 6.7
WARP3 7.9
OPS+ 142
Translated Line: .288/.374/.578

P Juan Marichal - 1965
(Runner Up - Juan Marichal - 1966)
WAR 9.2
WARP3 10.3
ERA+ 169
Translated Record: 24-8 (1 save) ERA 2.58

Closer Greg Minton - 1982
(Runner Up - Rob Nen - 1998)
WAR 5.7
WARP3 7.1
ERA+ 196
Translated Record: 11-3 (26 saves) ERA 2.21

The All Time Worst San Francisco Giants by Position

C Bob Barton 1969
WAR -.8
WARP3 -1.5
OPS+ 23
Translated Line: .175/.241/.175
-A translated slugging percentage of .175!  Even with only 119 plate appearances, Barton's our all time worst catcher.  A year later - he got 200 plate appearances.  Somehow, an OPS+ of 23 convinced the Giants to give Barton another 80 plate appearances. 

1B Enos Cabell 1981
WAR -1.7
WARP3 -2.4
OPS+ 72
Translated Line: .264/.284/.346

2B Bruce Miller 1975
WAR -1.3
WARP3 -1.3
OPS+ 54
Translated Line: .237/.293/.290
-This is a bit of a fudge; Miller split time between second and third, and spent more time at the hot corner, Rennie Stennett's 1980 would be what you would sub in for Miller.

SS Johnnie Lemaster 1982
WAR -2.8
WARP3 -2
OPS+ 51
Translated Line: .221/.276/.264

3B Pedro Feliz 2001
WAR -1.6
WARP -1.8
OPS+ 67
Translated Line: .234/.274/.369

LF Len Gabrielson 1966
WAR -.9
WARP3 -1.8
OPS+ 57
Translated Line: .226/.299/.297

CF Marquis Grissom 2005
WAR -2.1
WARP3 -1.7
OPS+ 39
Translated Line: .217/.255/.275

RF Jesus Alou 1966
WAR -1.9
WARP3 -2.5
OPS+ 61
Translated Line: .271/.295/.322

P Terry Mulholland 2005
(The Worst Season in San Francisco Giants History)
WAR -3.4
WARP3 -3.5
ERA+ 70
Translated Record: 6-15 ERA 7.47

P Jose Bautista 2005
(The Second Worst Season in San Francisco Giants History)
WAR -2.7
WARP3 -2.8
ERA+ 63
Translated Record: 3-10 ERA 7.60

Closer Matt Herges 2004
WAR -1.2
WARP3 -1.5
ERA+ 84
Translated Record 3-6 (19 saves) ERA 5.76

Five Decades of San Francisco Giants - The Twenty Aughts And the All Time Best and Worst San Francisco Giants

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You can get to the previous 4 decades by going here.

Worst Ever San Francisco Giants '58-99

C Barton '69
1B Cabell '81
2B Miller '75
SS Lemaster '82
3B Hayes '99
LF Gabrielson '66
CF Joshua '76
RF J Alou '66
P Mulholland '95
Cl Johnson '72
2000 (97-65)
C Estalella 3.2/2
1B Snow .8/.6
2B Kent 9.4/6.9
SS Aurilia 3.9/2.2
3B Mueller 1.1/1.1
LF Bonds 8.7/7.5
CF Benard 1.6/1.9
RF Burks 5.3/4.8
P Hernandez 5.3/3.6
Ortiz 1.8/0.4
Estes 3.3/2.2
Rueter 3.4/1.9
Gardner 2.6/1.2
Cl Nen 5.7/2.4

-The forgotten great season - our 97 win pythag makes 2000 the fourth best year in SFG history; so many good performances from the lineup - we have a change to the All Time SFG team right now as Kent's 2000 gives him the 2B spot - in fact, it's going to hold up as the 5th best all around year of the decade.  Burks and Nen will hold these positional spots throughout the remainder of the decade.  Just a really strong performance from the position players in 2000. 

2001 (86-76)
C Santiago 1.7/.2
1B Snow .1/.7
2B Kent 7.8/5
SS Aurilia 7.9/6.5
3B Martinez .8/0
Feliz -1.6/-1.5
LF Bonds 12.6/11.6
CF Murray 1/1.4
RF Rios 1.5/1.3
P Hernandez 1/-.1
Ortiz 5.8/4.2
Rueter 2.4/1.3
Estes 2.2/1.2
Rodriguez 3.6/3.1
Cl Nen 3.6/1.5

-Barry Bonds's 2001 - the greatest season in San Francisco Giant history.  Aurilia joins him in the All Time Team, bumping Speier after 30 years as our top SS performance.  Conversely, Pedro Feliz, who is an historically bad baseball player, takes his rightful spot as the worst SFG 3B ever with his 2001 season.  A real scrubs and stars year by the Bay.

2002 (98-63)
C Santiago 3.5/2.4
1B Snow .3/-.6
2B Kent 8.8/6.9
SS Aurilia 1/.7
3B Bell 3.2/2.9
LF Bonds 11.7/11.6
CF Shinjo 1.5/1.7
Lofton 1.3/1.7
RF Sanders 2.8/3.3
P Hernandez 1.8/.6
Ortiz 4.8/3.7
Rueter 4/2.8
Schmidt 3.1/2.1
Jensen .7/-.2
Cl Nen 5/2.4

-Okay, we had a 5 run lead with 8 outs to go - but instead, think about the decision to throw a replacement level Livan in Game 7.  Curiously - although this is our second best team of all time, just behind only that '62 team that also should have won the Series (tied for second, actually, with '93) not only did none of the seasons make the all time SFG team - none of them make the All-Decade team.

But Bonds's year is the second best SFG season of all time, so that's maybe a little misleading.  And Kent's not bad either; there are solid enough years from a couple of the arms - but this is two guys just smashing their way through the National League; the Bonds/Aurilia and the Bonds/Kent seasons in 01/02 have got to be on the short list of the greatest performances by teammates in NL history (no, I will not be doing that research.  Stop.  Just stop.)
2003 (93-68)
C Santiago 1.4/1.3
1B Snow 2.2/1.8
2B Durham 4.4/3
SS Aurilia 1.4/.5
3B Alfonzo 1.8/.1
LF Bonds 10.5/8.9
CF Grissom 1.6/2.2
RF Cruz 3.4/2.9
P Schmidt 6.6/5.7
Rueter 1/.3
Williams 2.1/1.9
Moss .8/.3
Foppert -.5/-.6
Nathan 2.7/1.6
Cl Worrell 1.1/.2

-A 3 way tie with '67 and the most comparable team '87 (at least in terms of the postseason RF misplay that led to an untimely playoff exit) as the fifth best SGF club of all time; just a great run here of 90+ pythag win teams; Schmidt gives us the arm for which we had been looking and Bonds gives us the 7th best season in SFG history.

2004 (88-74)
C Pierzynski 1.8/.1
1B Snow 3.3/3.2
2B Durham 3.6/2.4
SS Cruz 1.7/.4
3B Alfonzo 1.2/.3
Feliz 1/1.8
LF Bonds 11.4/10.4
CF Grissom 1.7/.4
RF Tucker 2.1/-.2
Mohr 2.3/.2
P Schmidt 6.4/6.7
Tomko 2.5/2.1
Rueter 1.5/1.6
Williams 1.6/1.2
Lowry 1.6/1.9
Cl Herges -1/-.9

-The 3rd best season in SFG history - Bonds, 2004.  Another strong year from Schmidt - and Snow's 2004, modest though it was, holds up as the best year for a 1B in the decade.  The Bizarro All Time Giants get a new closer - Herges takes the position with his 2004.

2005 (71-91)
C Matheny 1.9/-.5
1B Snow .5/.4
2B Durham 1.5/1.7
SS Vizquel 2.1/1.3
3B Alfonzo -.6/-1.1
LF Feliz .8/.6
CF Ellison 1.3/-.4
Winn 4.6/2.5
Grissom -1.1/-2.3
RF Tucker -.2/-.7
Alou 4.2/3.2
P Lowry 4.5/4.5
Tomko 2.2/1.6
Schmidt 1.7/1.3
Hennessey 1.5/1.2
Rueter -.4/-1
Cl Walker .8/.3

- There's an amusing coincidence, Winn's season holds up as the best for a SFG CF in the decade - while simultaneously, Grissom's season becomes the worst ever for a SFG CF.

2006 (76-85)
C Alfonzo 1.4/.6
1B Hillenbrand -.6/-.7
2B Durham 3.4/3
SS Vizquel 2.2/2.7
3B Feliz 1.3/1.6
LF Bonds 4.8/3.8
CF Finley 1.5/1
RF Winn 3/1.4
Alou 3.1/1.3
P Schmidt 4.1/3.8
Morris 1.9/.5
Cain 3.3/2.1
Lowry 1.8/1.1
Wright 1.2/.3
Cl Benitez 1.5/.7

-Like Mays in a previous generation, Bonds in his decline phase is still the best player on the club (and will be again in 2007, and then he'll never be given a job, even for the minimum salary, by a single club, ever again.).  There's nothing else to see in 2006. 

2007 (77-85)
C Molina 2.3/.9
1B Klesko .4/.2
2B Durham -1.3/-1.3
SS Vizquel .7/.5
3B Feliz .7/2
LF Bonds 4.8/3.2
CF Roberts 1.4/-1.1
RF Winn 2.5/2.4
P Cain 4.5/4.1
Zito 2.3/1.6
Lowry 2.6/1.7
Lincecum 2.2/2
Morris 1.3/.8
Cl Hennessey 2.4/1.6

-Not historically bad like 2005 (the fifth worst SFG team ever) or what's coming in 2008 (the 2nd worst SFG team ever) 2006 and 2007 are just depressing, slogging, mid 70s pythag seasons for which Bonds somehow gets blamed - the decision to surround him with Dave Roberts like veterans was an organizational choice that in literally no way was compelled by his presence.  The inability of SFG to turn the page and surround the man who, even in 2007, was still its best player, with young talent was an organizational failure.  But we do start to reshape the club around the pitching staff, and 3 years later - that's yielded results. 

2008 (68-94)
C Molina 3.9/1.7
1B Bowker -.3/-1.3
2B Durham .8/.7
SS Vizquel -1.8/-.6
3B Castillo -1.1/-.6
LF Lewis 2.3/1.5
CF Rowand 4.3/.4
RF Winn 6/3.8
P Lincecum 7.4/7.8
Cain 4.6/4.3
Zito .3/-.3
Sanchez 1.3/.6
Correia -.4/-1.2
Cl Wilson .9/.3

-Only '85 was a worse ballclub in SFG history, a sub replacement infield is too much to overcome, even with Lincecum winning the Cy Young in the best season for a SFG pitcher since Perry in '70.  Molina's year is the best for a Giants catcher in the decade. 

2009 (86-76)
C Molina 1.7/-.7
1B Ishikawa 1.1/.7
2B Burriss -.4/-1.3
Uribe 2.9/3.4
SS Renteria -.3/-1.6
3B Sandoval 5.6/4.1
LF Lewis 1.3/1.1
CF Rowand 1.4/1.5
RF Winn 1.7/1
P Lincecum 6.7/7.2
Cain 5.7/6.1
Zito 2.6/2.2
Sanchez 1.6/1.4
Johnson -0.1/0
Cl Wilson 2.4/1.5

-Sandoval's year is the best for any SFG position player since Bonds in '04 (but it looks like he'll be passed by Huff this season) and he makes the all decade club. 

Which is right here:

2000-09 SFG 25 Man Roster

C   Santiago '02
      Molina '08
1B Snow '04
      Snow '03
2B Kent '00
      Kent '02
SS Aurilia '01
      Aurilia '00
3B Sandoval '09
     Bell '02
LF Bonds '01
      Bonds '02
CF Winn '05
       Rowand '08
RF Burks '00
      Winn '08
P Lincecum '08
   Lincecum '09
   Schmidt '04
   Schmidt '03
   Cain '09
   Ortiz '01
   Lowry '05
Cl Nen '00
     Nen '02

5 Best SFG Seasons 2000-09

1. Bonds '01
2. Bonds '02
3. Bonds '04
4. Bonds '03
5. Kent '00

5 Best SFG Teams - All Time

1. 1962
2. 1993, 2002
4. 2000
5. 2010

5 Worst SFG Teams - All Time

1. 1985
2. 2008
3. 1984
4. 1995
5. 1974, 1976, 1996

10 Worst SFG Seasons - All Time

1. Mulholland '95
2. Bautista '95
3. Lemaster '82
4. Moffitt '79
5. D'Acquisto '75
6. J.Fisher '63
7. Bryant '74
8. J Alou '66
9. E.Fisher '59
10. Vanlandingham '96

The All Time Bizarro San Francisco Giants
C Barton '69
1B Cabell '81
2B Miller '75
SS Lemaster '82
3B Feliz '01
LF Gabrielson '66
CF Grissom '05
RF J.Alou '66
P Mulholland '95
Cl Herges '04

1st and Five - The Weekly Tendown, Halfdown Edition July 25-31 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dear Internet:

Pentagon Papers 2K were released this week; the response "well of course the war's unwinnable and the government's been lying about it" reflected less that the papers weren't significant and more our suicide cult like unwillingness to change direction even in the face of catastrophic inevitability.  Let's try this metaphor - the American public is the guy who has gained so much weight that his skin has become fused with his couch and Dick Gregory has to come in with the jaws of life to pry him out.  It isn't that we're unaware we're dying, it's not that we're unaware our living room is covered in buckets of original recipe and animal feces, it's not that we're unaware that every can of frosting we down is another day closer to the end.

It's that we've decided it's too late.  Once you've passed 5 bills, the next hundred pounds hardly matters - who among us, seriously, this means you - who among us looked at the plan to radically increase troops in Afghanistan and said "helluva plan - we're gonna win this thing"?  We know our almost decade long dump of dollars and bodies in the middle east is going to kill us as surely as that fourteenth deep dish meat lovers.  We just don't care. 

But if you want to read Nick Kristof from this week that would be good too:

 For the cost of just one soldier in Afghanistan for one year, we could start about 20 schools there.

What's the argument that's not a better idea?  Absent the authoritarian need some Americans have to pound submission into brown enemies and the degree to which policymakers are wed to the military industrial complex - what's the theoretical case that our lives are better off by spending our money on guns and not butter? 

In 2010 the Republicans held up extending unemployment benefits for two months, a grain of sand in the desert of our budget, with the stated claim of fiscal responsiblity.  But we continue to set fire to hundred dollar bills every single second of our lives without any sort of movement to stop it.

And Don Draper hired a hooker to slap him around on Thanksgiving, 1964. 

That was this week.  Here's Tendown 37.

First: 60-45

Get used to baseball talk.

SFG is 60-45, 1 1/2 up in the NL WC, with the 3rd best record and second best pythag in the NL (62-43)  BP has us with a 42% chance to make the playoffs, but significantly higher, 68% if you run the PECOTA simulation - that's my general preference, and it's what I usually think about first when forecasting.  I would have liked a bat at the deadline, but it was the premium arms (Haren, Oswalt) that got sold short (Cards weirdly overpaid for Westbrook though).  With fewer than 60 games left in the season - let's say it plays out like this:

AL East - NYY
Central - Minnesota
West - Texas
WC - Tampa

-Other than White Sox/Twins in the Central and which one of the two teams in the East wins the division, the AL looks to be over. 

NL East - Braves
Central - Cards
West - Padres
WC - Giants

-At the half way mark, this is exactly how my modified picks looked, except I had the Reds winning the WC - let's say we hold off them and the Phillies (Oswalt.  Grumble, grumble) and work our way into that spot.  We could also take out the Padres, which places me against my financial interests, given the odds they were still getting a month ago to win the West were too tempting to pass up. 

Pat Burrell gave us our Brian Johnson moment yesterday, taking Broxton out to put us at our high water mark.  I posted my look at the Nineties in my full recap of SFG history this week (perhaps I finish this week, but it's August and time for my next post over at the counterfactual).

Right now - here are the team leaders by WAR/WARP3

LF Huff 4.8/7
-Huff's on track to have a better year than Sandoval did in 2009; which would make it the best season for a Giants position player since Bonds in 2004.  I was heavily critical of Sabean for the Huff signing - I was wrong.

CF Torres 4/5.9
-Andres Torres is in track to have the best year for a SFG CF since Butler in 1990 - at the very least - it might go back to '88 by season's end.

C Posey 1.5/3
-Posey's late callup leaves him behind a handful of Molina/Estallela/Manwaring seasons - but my guess is he winds up with the best SFG catching season since Brenly in '87 - and the  best SFG catching season (as will be revealed when I finish my posts recapping our full history) is not a high bar - it's probably too late for Posey to make it this year - but in 2011, Buster Posey will turn in the best season for any SFG catcher ever.

SS Uribe 1.4/2.7
-This is probably not going to be the year Uribe had in '09, but an above replacement season for a Giants SS is always a welcome happening.

P Cain 2.8/3.5
Lincecum 3.1/3.1
Zito 2.7/3
Sanchez 1.5/2.1
Bumgarner 1.1/1.5
Wilson 1.8/2.9
Romo 1.2/1.8

In 2009, we had 4 starters above replacement value (everyone but the Unit) - this year we are locked into 5; none of whom are having significant seasons historically, but if you tack on the two plus relievers, we're in good shape here as well. 

One more bat would have been good. 

Looking forward to seeing how it ends.  How will I get crushed this time?

After the jump - the rest of the Tendown

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