The Weekly Tendown May 7-14 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dear Internet:

I've had the same desktop wallpaper on every single computer I've ever owned.  It's Bobby Thomson's 1951 homer to win the pennant for the New York Giants.  I'm not a New York Giants fan, but it's the Giants, and that means its our iconic moment.

Now, my computer looks like this.

Here's Tendown 76.

1. Heat 97 Celtics 87

Here's selfish/choker/quitter/can't come through in the clutch/two superstars on one team can't win a title/ gosh/who will be the Alpha Dog come crunch time/it's better to have a team of "character" guys and scrappy role players/who do you think you are leaving Cleveland and doing it on TV/show some more humility/show some more fire/we think every sport we watch is a referendum on our view of good and evil LeBron James hitting the last ten points of a closeout game to send the Celtics home for the summer.

My preseason NBA predictions, taking the Heat to win the title are here. My playoff predictions, again picking the Heat to win the title are here.

Bulls are next.  Miami in 6.

Given that Memphis/OKC is headed for Game 7, the most likely matchup for Miami is Dallas; Rick Carlisle took some abuse this week, when he said Dirk Nowitzki is one of the 10 greatest players in NBA history.

He's not.  But it's closer than you think.

My favorite aggregate basketball statistic, at least one that is released to the public, is Win Shares, I recently did a list of the greatest Golden St Warriors of all time ranked by a combination of regular season and postseason Win Shares.

The methodology is flawed - but it ain't bad.

I've got a ranking of the top 100 NBA players of all time ready to go; I'm going to release it once the playoffs end in order to get this season's postseason to count.

But - here's a tease.

Right now - headed to the 2011 Western Conference Finals - Dirk's the 18th best player in NBA history; right between Kobe and Moses.

(His efficiency rating, incidentally, which is one of the components of Win Shares, and the best rate stat to measure productivity, is 15th best in regular season history; and despite his reputation as Eurosoftpostseasonchokingwhycan'thelifthisteamwhenitreallymatters - Dirk's playoff efficiency rating is a point higher than his regular season rating.  People who talk to you about sports on TV, no matter who they are, are almost always wrong.  People who talk to you about news on TV are almost always wrong - and there is no Rachel Maddow for sports.  Your head is filled with flat earth theory level untruths.  That's why we're here.)

Here's another tease.

Who's number one?

Not Jordan (although he is number one for efficiency; meaning, if you're drafting, you pick him - but if you're evaluating the overall career value of NBA players - he does not rank first.  You'll get the full 100 once the playoffs end, which I think is around Labor Day.)

2. I've got other lists going too.
I've started a series of compilations of each NFL franchises all time 45 man roster.  My Niner post is here. Coming up next - the Seattle Seahawks.  I'll give it a separate post this coming week, but for now - here are just the starters:

QB Dave Krieg
RB Shaun Alexander
RB John Williams
WR Steve Largent
WR Brian Blades
TE Christian Fauria
C Robbie Tobeck
G Edwin Bailey
G Chris Gray
T Walter Jones
T Steve August
DE Jacob Green
DT Cortez Kennedy
DT Joe Nash
DE Jeff Bryant
OLB Chad Brown
MLB Lofa Tatupu
OLB Keith Butler
CB Dave Brown
S Eugene Robinson
S Kenny Easley
CB Marcus Trufant
PK Josh Brown
P Jeff Feagles

3. At the Quarter Pole - The 2011 MLB All Star Teams

At the time of this writing, the World Champion San Francisco Giants are 22-17 and in first place in the NL West.  At the top of the week, you could still get paid to pick the Giants to win the division.  This, I'd suggest, was a good investment.  

Tuesday, I'll put up my first of three (at 40, 60, 80 games) All-Star ballots.  Strictly limited to 2011 regular season performance to date.  I'll make a separate post for this Tuesday, and I'll modify it to account for games through Monday.  But as of right now - here are my All Star ballots.  Starters and backups, plus 12 arms.  At 80 games (60 if I'm ambitious) I'll find out how many players are on the roster this year (too many) and give each club a representative.

American League
C Alex Avila (Russell Martin)
1B Miguel Cabrera (Adrian Gonzalez)
2B Ben Zobrist (Howie Kendrick)
SS Asdrubal Cabrera (Jed Lowrie)
3B Adrian Beltre (Wilson Betemit)
LF Alex Gordon (Dumbass Luke Scott)
CF Denard Span (Curtis Granderson)
RF Jose Bautista (MVP) (Jeff Francoeur)
SP Dan Haren (Cy)
     Jared Weaver
     David Price
     James Shields
     CC Sabathia
     Josh Beckett
     Trevor Cahill
      Felix Hernandez
     Mark Buehrle
 RP David Robertson
      Jonathan Papelbon
      Jordan Walden

National League
C Ramon Hernandez (Brian McCann)
1B Joey Votto (MVP) (Gaby Sanchez)
2B Rickie Weeks (Darwin Barney)
SS Jose Reyes (Jimmy Rollins)
3B Pablo Sandoval (Placido Polanco)
LF Matt Holliday (Ryan Braun)
CF Cameron Maybin (Drew Stubbs)
RF Lance Berkman (Andre Ethier)
SP Roy Halladay (Cy)
     Clayton Kershaw       
     Cliff Lee
     Josh Johnson
     Tim Lincecum
     Chad Billingsley 
      Cole Hamels
      Matt Garza
      Ian Kennedy
   RP Chris Resop
       Drew Storen
       Francisco Rodriguez

4. But Better Than Any of That...

As soon as it makes its way to my public library ('cause that's what my bank account allows these days) I'll be picking up:
Robert Lipsyte is in my inner circle for all-time great sportswriters.  Here's his piece on the NFL lockout.  Here's his piece about why you shouldn't vote for ex-athletes.

And to the left is his new autobiography.  I'll offer thoughts once I've read it.

I have wrestling thoughts now - I saw three four star matches this week, Hero v. Perkins from ROH in March, a 4 1/4 Wolves v. Bucks from PWG in March, and a 4 star Kings v. Steen/Tozawa from that same show.

I've been leaving main events from multiple shows in March/April; I've got 26 main event type matches left to watch; my anticipation is to get through them by mid-June.   

5. And the Only Thing You Need to Read This Week.

6. Go Get a Passport This Week
I have a passport; so the proposed new passport application isn't as daunting to me as otherwise it might be.

                                                       Because it's crazypants:  

Do you know your mother's residence one year before your birth?

The address of your mother's employer at the time of your birth?

The dates of the appointments for your mother's pre-natal care?

Every address you've lived in.  Ever.

Good luck.

7. 1918

The rumblings that the Cubs threw the 1918 World Series are increasing.

Here's the shorthand, and those who would keep PED users out of the HOF on questions of morality should consider it.  Gambling was rampant within baseball culture in this era; in the 1990s/20aughts the whispers were about steroids; in the 1970s/80s it was coke; in the 50s/60s, it was speed - in the teens and twenties - it was gambling.  If you were around clubhouses or pressboxes in 1925, superstars of the magnitude of those suspected of PED use 80 years later were being talked about in connection with dumping baseball games.  It was an open secret that probably hasn't received enough attention in the context of our current moral climate. Here's a discussion of the Ty Cobb/Tris Speaker scandal; they were exonerated at the time, but probably should not have been.  In the same way that we periodically have a discussion like "Saddam Hussein is an evil man, how can we not go to war to remove him from Iraq" - that doesn't consider all the Suhartos and Pinochets and Saddam Husseins that we kept in power with full knowledge of their evil - we have a conversation about steroids "none of these records should count, all of these careers should be excluded from history" that doesn't include the context of every single other era in baseball history having similar (or worse) stains.  

8. 2.4 million bucks an hour.
That's how much hedge fund manager John Paulsen made in 2010.

Is that the country you want to live in?

9. Hell, yes, says Mike Huckabee.  And Tell the Children
Mike Huckabee's not running for President.  He's too busy learnin' America's children right from wrong. 

10. The Survivor Finale is Tonight
Pay that man his money.

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

Your pal,


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