Prime 9 - Second Basemen. The 9 Greatest Second Basemen of All Time

Saturday, December 31, 2011

MLB has a Prime 9 series in which it ranks the top 9 players at each position.  Second base was today.  Here's my list in comparison to that list. My ranking of the 200 greatest players in history is here.

MLB Network List:

1. Hornsby
2. Collins
3. Morgan
4. Lajoie
5. Carew
6. Gehringer
7. Alomar
8. Sandberg
9. Grich

-I was prepared to yell about Grich not being included - and then he led off the show.  They set a 1000 game minimum for positional inclusion, which is reasonable and why Robinson isn't on the list.  Here's my list.

1. Hornsby
2. Lajoie
3. Collins
4. Morgan

I don't think it's particularly close between Hornsby and the other three (his OPS+ was 175) where it's really not close is between these four and everyone else; I don't know if anyone has anyone else in a top four second basemen ever group.

5. Robinson
6. Grich
7. Gehringer
8. Carew
9. Gordon

If I had the same 1000 games played positional rule, my guy Kent would be number nine and everyone would slide up one to take Jackie's slot.

I Pick Every NFL Game in 2011 - Week 17

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Against the spread, I'm 110-121-9, straight up I'm 165-75.

NO -7.5 Carolina(win/win)
Buff +12 NE (Pats win game)(loss/win)
Chi +1 Minn(win/win)
Mia -2.5 NYJ(loss/win)
Rams +10.5 Niners (Niners win game)(win/win)
GB +1.5 Det(win/win)
Philly -8.5 Wash(win/win)
Colts +3.5 Jags (Jax wins game)(loss/win)
Houston +3 Tenn(win/loss)
Ariz -3 Seattle(push/win)
Den -3 KC(loss/loss)
Atl -11.5 TB(win/win)
Balt -2 Cincy(win/win)
Pit -7 Cle(loss/win)
Oak -3 SD(loss/loss)
NYG -3 Dall(win/win)

9-6-1 119-127-10
13-3   178-78

The Weekly Tendown: Christmasdown: December 18-24 2011 (Tim Tebow=Jon Kitna)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dear Internet:

A Christmas miracle.

This is Tendown 107. 106 is here.


After beating the Bears a couple of weeks ago, here was Tim Tebow:

"If you believe, then unbelievable things can sometimes be possible."

Some variation of that has been said by and about Tebow after each of Denver's wins.  On ESPN, on talk radio, on Fox News, on the 700 Club - some variation of the discussion that Denver wins were building a case not just for Tebow's ability to play quarterback but for the existence of a higher power. No, seriously.  Here's the general manager of the Chicago Bears - a man entrusted to make personnel decisions:

"I believe there is some divine intervention associated with what's taking place"

Here's what you won't hear after Tebow's 4 pick/2 pick 6 performance Saturday:

"Well, guess there's no God after all.  My bad, dawg."

Because that's the space Christianity has carved for it in our culture.  Last night, someone won 125 million bucks in the Powerball drawing and will honestly tell some local TV reporter that he prayed for it to happen when he bought the ticket - and that will close the local news telecast.  What won't be part of that telecast - the anchor turning to the camera to say, "I prayed too when I my bought my ticket; and so did hundreds and hundreds of thousands of other people.  We all lost. This wasn't news.  Our bad, dawg."

The Detroit Lions are about to go to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Which is weird, right - if you remember what happened in 2007.

The 9-7 record of 2000 was somewhat misleading. After starting out hot, winning five of their first seven games, the Lions were expected to make the playoffs. Instead, they lost three of their final four games, finished just over .500 and missed the postseason. When the team resumed play in 2001, the oozing wound tore wide open. They finished with a franchise-worst 14 losses, burned through three quarterbacks and closed the final season of the Pontiac Silverdome in less-than-memorable fashion. The Lions haven’t had a winning season since.

Tangled up in the losing environment and bad press was a team full of men bred to win. When that winning didn’t happen, men’s attitudes soured. When the attitudes soured, the team concept was all but abandoned.

“You could feel it walking into the locker room,” said Dave Wilson, the Lions chaplain of 23 years. “Nobody wanted to be there. Some guys hated each other. It was like, ‘How many more games do we have until we can get out of here and start over?’”

So much dissention created a catch 22. They couldn’t get along, so they couldn’t win. They couldn’t win because they couldn’t come to together.

“There was so much talent here my first year, but there wasn’t a team,” said Orlovsky, who was drafted by the Lions in 2005. “It was a lot more ‘me, me, me.’ There was so much of a losing concept.”

The wounded Lions weren’t fooling anybody. They were in trouble.

So what happened?

They turned to Jesus.  They signed Jon Kitna, so devout he prayed as he walked to the line of scrimmage.  They won 6 of their first 8 games in 2007.  20 teammates were said to have converted to
Christianity within a year and a half of his signing.  It was a team of overt, devout, Christians who proclaimed Kitna's returning from a concussion to be not an act of medical negligence but instead an Act of God.:

"To me, a miracle is when I can’t explain something, and there is no explanation.” Kitna said. “The doctors can’t explain it. I can’t explain it. Nobody can explain it, and you cannot convince me that God wasn’t at work there for whatever reason. I don’t know why he did it. I don’t know why that happened, but all I know is I was out of it and then ended up being totally cognizant with no issues, no symptoms whatsoever.”

Bible studies replaced that old poisonous, losing Lions attitude that had submarined them previously.  Here was Jemele Hill writing for

       "it's hard not to note the impact spirituality has had on the team's incredible resurgence"

When the Lions lost 7 of their last 8 games of the season and then went winless in 2008, here's what I didn't read from Jemele Hill:

"it's hard not to note that the most publicly Christian team in the NFL is also the worst, and has suffered a collapse that rivals any in recent sports history."

A week ago, Russell's whiny nephew was eliminated in the final Redemption Island challenge in this season's Survivor when he lost a pole sitting contest to Ozzy.  I would have bet you all of the money in my bank account this would be the result - not because Ozzy is maybe the best all time Survivor challenge competitor but instead due to the conspicuous absence of prayer from that episode to that point.  If you've watched the past two seasons of Survivor you've seen the first half of the 2007 Detroit Lions season, a lot of "God's on our side and that's why we will win" talk - and if there was ever a ready made storyline, it was here - two men perched atop a pole, the one who falls - out of a million dollar game.  The cocky Ozzie who had wiped out opponent after opponent in these showdown challenges against the heavily outgunned Russell's nephew, who has only his loudly, constantly, consistently proclaimed faith to keep him on that pole.  What would the Bears general manager say about Russell's nephew's inexplicable win over Ozzie?

But no god talk at all.  Maybe for the first time in a half dozen episodes.  Huh.

I guarantee you there's footage on someone's computer of Russell's nephew and probably a few others saying, "Jesus will keep me on this pole."  I guarantee you if Russell's nephew had won - that's the storyline that would have been driven home all the way through the finale.  If you believe, then unbelievable things can sometimes be possible.

But we didn't see any of that.  Because when Jon Kitna wins 6 of 8 its because of Jesus.  And when the Lions lose 24 of 25, well, hey, look over there.  Russell's nephew fell off the pole and exited the game.  That's what's up.

If Tim Tebow, on Christmas Eve, had thrown for 4 scores instead of 4 picks, his religion is all you'd hear about on every pregame show today.  It's praying over a winning lottery ticket.  Jemele Hill probably already has the piece on her hard drive. Christianity is institutionalized confirmation bias.

And that's why, I'd suggest, I don't like Tim Tebow.

Or it could just be because he's a virgin. Either way.

2. A Better Tebow Piece
..was written by Charlie Pierce, earlier this week:
Let us be quite clear — Tim Tebow adheres to a particular form of American Protestantism. He belongs to — and proselytizes for — a splinter of a splinter, no more or less than Mitt Romney once did. This particular splinter has a long record in America of fostering anti-Enlightenment thought, retrograde social policies, and, more discreetly, religious bigotry. To call Tim Tebow a "Christian," and to leave it at that — as though there were one definition of what a "Christian" is — is to say nothing and everything at once. Roman Catholics are Christians. So are Lutherans, Episcopalians, Melkites, Maronites, and members of the Greek and Russian Orthodox faiths. You can see how insidious this is when discussion turns to the missionary work that Tebow's family has done in the Philippines. This is from the Five Priorities of the Bob Tebow ministries, regarding its work overseas:
It is the goal of the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association to preach the gospel to every person who has never had an opportunity to hear the good news of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Most of the world's population has never once had the opportunity to hear the only true message of forgiveness of sins by faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

It so happens that 95 percent of the population of the Philippines is Roman Catholic. Catholic doctrine just happens to be in conflict with what Bob Tebow and his son preach in regard to personal salvation. (To devout Catholics, for example, sins are not forgiven "by faith alone," but through the sacrament of reconciliation as administered by a priest.) Bob Tebow's goal is not to convert unbelievers. It is to supplant an existing form of Christianity. So who's the actual Christian here? This is not an idle point to be made. Down through history, millions of people have died in conflicts over what a "Christian" really is, which is what so exercised Madison, and also what brought down a lot of Hitchens' wrath upon religion in general. History says that as soon as you start talking about "the only true message" in this regard, you guarantee that, eventually, people will get slaughtered in the town square.

3. Is This Our Last Christmas?

It shows how far we've lowered the bar on what passes for non-crazy rhetoric from Republicans that Michele Bachman could say this, this week and have no one scream "what the hell is this candidate for President talking about."

If it is our last Christmas, thanks for spending it with Tendown.

4. Welcome to the War - National Rifle Association

As you know, there's a War on Christmas - and the way you tell which side someone is on is their seasonal greeting.  If they say, Merry Christmas - then they're on our side (well, your side, I'm like Tokyo Rose, clearly) but if they say "Happy Holidays" that's really secret code for " There is no Jesus and Tim Tebow isn't as good as John Skelton."

My side got an ally this week.  And they're packing.

NRA Happy Holidays

Your twitter feed for the day.

6. Monica Seles' Boyfriend

Is one of the robber barons fighting against the 99% movement.

7. And The Best Tool of the Plutocracy
Is of course, the Supreme Court.

8. From Robert Reich:
This week.

today’s Tea Party is less an ideological movement than the latest incarnation of an angry white minority – predominantly Southern, and mainly rural – that has repeatedly attacked American democracy in order to get its way.

9. 2 Years, 25 Million

So, we could have not done Sanchez for Melky and instead signed Beltran for something like 2 years/25 million?

How is that not a better result?

10. Which USC Quarterback is Having a Better Christmas?

Matt Barkley?  Remaining a Trojan one more season (are we preseason number one?).

Or Mark Sanchez?

The Jets lost again Saturday.

My vote - Sanchez.  He's got better things to do than go to the playoffs.

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

Your pal,


Top 100 Fantasy Basketball Rankings - 2012

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I'm in 12 team, 13 man roster leagues, that means far more than 100 players will be drafted in all of my drafts - but my goal is to stay inside the top 100; in my first draft, I got 12, if I can do that again in my second, I'll be good.

I've tiered this, get anyone from the particular tier you like, as your position/category needs dictate.  I play 8 cat, 12 team leagues.

One: James, Durant
Two: Paul, Wade
Three: Curry, Westbrook, Williams
Four: Rose, Stoudemire, Love, Granger, Ellis
Five: Gasol, Anthony
Six: Howard, Nowitzki, Bryant, Gay, Wall, Ginobli, Wright, Gallinari
Seven: Rondo, Horford, Lee, Holiday, Pierce
Eight: Bosh, Nash, Lawson, Aldridge, JSmith, Garnett, Evans, Millsap
Nine: Griffin, Jefferson, Gordon, Iguodala, Martin, West, Conley, Jennings,
Ten: Blatche, Harden, Ibaka, Irving, Collison
Eleven: Bargnani, ZRandolph, Nene, Lowry, Batum, SJackson,
Twelve: Deng, Wallace, Kidd, Thomas, Brand, Noah, Duncan, Thornton, Beasley
Thirteen: Bogut, MGasol, Nelson, Cousins, Billups, Felton, Hibbert, RAllen
Fourteen: Terry, Frye, Teague, TAllen, Fields, George
Fifteen: Gortat, Scola, JJohnson, Harris, Parker, Rubio, Jack, Douglas, AJohnson,
Sixteen: Bynum, McGee, Monroe, Verejao, Boozer, Stuckey, Odom, Richardson, Ariza, Diaw, Delfino, Chandler, Augustin, BLopez

Fantasy Hoops - 2012

Friday, December 23, 2011

First of two drafts was this morning, 8 cat, 12 team.  I picked fourth.

1. Chris Paul G
-I anticipated either Paul or Wade, that's how it fell.  Guards are deeper than forwards which are deeper than centers, but there are a pool of forwards to be had in rounds 2-5, so this is a good result.  I've got LeBron and Durant, in that order, at the top of the board.  I've got Rose lower than his ADP; in my next draft I'm picking third, and in the likely event that he's on the board, I'm passing him up for Paul.

2. Danny Granger F
-I'm a GSW fan, and my hope was a fall by either Curry or Ellis.  It almost happened, Curry went 20th just one spot ahead of mine.  I queue alternatives, so I anticipated going forward here and was ready with Granger or Gay. In the event it falls like this, choose Granger as you might get a chance for Gay with the shortside pick.

3. Jrue Holiday G
-Gay was still on the board and that had been my working plan all along, but two guys I like a lot, Wright and Gallinari, are going to be value picks; I moved off the Gay plan and decided I'd get the best PG on the board (I could have gotten Evans also; this is the 28th pick and that's where they should go) and follow up with forwards.

4. Kevin Garnett F
-Here's where I made the mistake, what I needed to do here was go Wright then Gallinari and I wound up missing them both.  I thought I'd be able to get KG then still pick up either of the other forwards in the next spot; this is pick 45.

5. Manu Ginobli G
-I know, helluva fantasy team from 2008.  I love Manu, both in real life and fantasy, and decided to roll the die on Gallinari.  That was error.

6. Serge Ibaka C
-Have to get a center in round six, there are two required on a 13 man roster, and with Lopez down and Lee not qualifying, center is hurting.  I also like Irving as a third PG, but lost out by taking Serge.  This is the 69th pick.

7. Darren Collison G
-I got the guys I wanted with the next two picks; I've already offered Collison straight up for Wright (turned down) and Gallinari (we'll see).

8. Nicolas Batum F
-This is the 93rd pick; here, I had Harden higher on my board, but needed the third forward.

9. James Harden G
-As it turned out, I got Harden anyway; here, I had to give up on Frye as my second center, but the value difference was more than I could give away.

10. Anderson Varejao C
-Have to get the second center at this point, Varejao was highest on the board; this is pick 117.

11. Trevor Ariza F
-3 picks left, I need the 4th forward now because he starts; note I picked 5 guards before 4 forwards, demonstrating the depth in the backcourt.  If I go Bellinelli and not Manu in that spot I fix that problem.

12. Tony Allen G
-What do you mean defense doesn't count in fantasy?  This is pick 141; I was looking at Fields and George (who doesn't have forward eligibility or I would have taken him in the previous round) here also.  He'll sit on my bench as the sixth guard; I'm likely to play the other five most of the time, 4 at the guard spot, one at the flex.

13. Matt Barnes F
-Last man on the roster at pick 148.  Since the second draft is likely to look similar to this, I'm likely to start with the same three picks, then go Wright/Bellinelli.

I Pick Every NFL Game in 2011 - Week 16

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last week's here -  I'm 102-114-8 against the number, 152-72 straight up.

Texans -5.5 Colts (loss/loss)
Oakland +2.5 KC(win/win)
Jags +7 Titans (Tenn wins)(win/win)
Bengals -4 Cards(win/win)
Bills +3 Denver(win/win)
Rams +15.5 Steelers (Pit wins)(loss/win)
Giants +3 Jets(win/win)
Wash -6.5 Min(loss/loss)
Mia +10.5 NE (Pats win) (win/win)
TB+7.5 Carol (Panthers win game)(loss/win)
Ravens -12.5 Cle(loss/win)
Det -2.5 SD(win/win)
Dall -1.5 Phil(loss/loss)
Niners -2 Seattle(push/win)
GB -12.5 Chi(win/win)
Atl +7 NO (Saints win game)(loss/win)

8-7-1, 110-121-9
13-3, 165-75

2011 Athlete of the Year

Aaron Rodgers

This sneaked up on me a little bit.  Who I was tracking for most of the year was Djokovic, but in the end, the vote for Rodgers is based on the same rationale that earned Maya Moore the 2010 award - an early year title followed up by a nearly perfect season.  Dirk finished third.

Here's the history of my Athlete of the Year Award:

1990: Joe Montana
1991: Michael Jordan
1992: Mario Lemieux
1993: Michael Jordan
1994: George Foreman
1995: Hakeem Olajuwon
1996: Michael Jordan
1997: Tiger Woods
1998: Mark McGwire
1999: Tiger Woods
2000: Tiger Woods
2001: Barry Bonds
2002: Barry Bonds
2003: Lance Armstrong
2004: Peyton Manning
2005: Reggie Bush
2006: Roger Federer
2007: Tom Brady
2008: Usain Bolt
2009: Manny Pacquiao
2010: Maya Moore

2011-2012 NBA Predictions

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

66 game schedule for the NBA starts Sunday; historically, my predictions for season long win totals are my strongest forecasts.  It's a little more up in the air this season given the circumstances, but here we go.  The sportsbook I generally use in this space when making predictions does not have season long win totals on its board; my assumption is the reduced season has made those bets hard to find.  There are lines for division winners however; so, were the win totals here to provide a possible opportunity against those lines, I'll note it.  The Simmons win totals are out today on his podcast; I've yet to listen - I whipped him pretty good last year, so that makes up for his beating me in every other conceivable metric in our lives.

Boston (40)
Philly (37)
NY (35)
NJ (28)
Toronto (23)

Celtics are -130; maybe consider a value play for the Sixers, as they're +800 to win the division.  I've got Celtics (3rd), Sixers (5th) and Knicks (6th) in the playoffs.  Nets and Raptors in the lottery.

Bulls (47)
Indy (35)
Bucks (33)
Det (25)
Cle (20)

Bulls are -3000, so no play.  They're my (2nd) seed in the East, the Pacers are (7th) and the Bucks are (8th). Pistons and Cavs in the lottery, Cleveland's the worst team in the NBA.

Heat (50)
Magic (40)
Atlanta (32)
Wash (21)
Charl (21)

Heat's -2000, no play.  They're the best team in basketball, I'll take them to win the chip.  I've got Orlando (4th) and the rest in the lottery.

Miami to beat Chicago in the Eastern finals

Spurs (40)
Mavs (38)
Memphis (35)
Houston (33)
NO (26)

The Spurs are +200, so consider that play.  They're my (2nd) seed in the West, Dallas is (5th) and Memphis is (8th).  Lottery for Rockets and Hornets.

OKC (43)
Den (39)
Port (38)
Minn (31)
Utah (28)

OKC is -400 and a pretty solid bet to win.  They're my top seed in the West; I'll say they lose in the finals to the Heat.  I've got Denver (4th), Portland (7th) and the others in the lottery.

Clippers (41)
Lakers (37)
GSW (26)
Suns (25)
Kings (25)

The Clips are getting +250, so consider that play.  I've got them (3rd) in the west, the Lakers (6th); my Warriors and the others in the lottery.

Athlete of the Month, December 2011

November is here.

Drew Brees.  Runners-up: Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Keith Price

That's it.  Our year is over.  Athlete of the Year has been decided (and it won't be Coaches K and Summit) and will be released this week.  Here are the nominees:

Nick Fairley
Aaron Rodgers
Kemba Walker
Danielle Adams
Dirk Nowitzki
Rory McIlroy
Novak Djokovic
Justin Verlander
Cliff Lee
David Freese
Matt Barkley
Drew Brees 

See you soon for the 22nd annual Athlete of the Year Award.

The 50 Greatest Bay Area Athletes of All Time

Monday, December 19, 2011

CSN Bay Area just did a countdown of the top 20 "legends" in San Francisco Bay Area sports history.

Here was its list:

1. Joe Montana
2. Willie Mays
3. Bill Walsh
4. Al Davis
5. Jerry Rice
6. Barry Bonds
7. Rickey Henderson
8. Rick Barry
9. Willie McCovey
10. John Madden
11. Bill Russell
12. Steve Young
13. Jim Plunkett
14. Joe DiMaggio
15. Reggie Jackson
16. Ronnie Lott
17. Eddie DeBartolo
18. Tim Lincecum
19. Charlie Finley
20. Juan Marichal

So, that was that list.  I'm just going to pick players; I'm not going to rank them.

There might be a way to compare a boxer from a hundred years ago to a high school quarterback, but I'm unaware of it.  I'm just going to pick 50 and you can sort it out any way that makes sense.

I took 25 from the major professional franchises in the Bay Area, and the other 25 from college, high school, or who otherwise spent a significant amount of athletic time in the Bay Area.

So, in no particular rank - the 50 greatest Bay Area athletes of all time.

Rick Barry
Chris Mullin
Nate Thurmond
Jerry Rice
Joe Montana
Ronnie Lott
Steve Young
John Brodie
Leo Nomellini
Jimmy Johnson
Barry Bonds
Willie Mays
Juan Marichal
Willie McCovey
Will Clark
Gaylord Perry
Gene Upshaw
Jim Otto
Willie Brown
Art Shell
Fred Biletnikoff
Rickey Henderson
Reggie Jackson
Sal Bando
Patrick Marleau
Tiger Woods
KC Jones
Bill Russell
Matt Biondi
John Elway
Andrew Luck
Jim Plunkett
John McEnroe
Jason Kidd
Bob Mathias
Hank Luisetti
Joe Kapp
Gino Marchetti
Don Budge
Joe DiMaggio
Lefty O'Doul
OJ Simpson
Joe Morgan
Frank Robinson
Tom Brady
Mark Spitz
Willie Stargell
Gary Payton
Dan Fouts
Jim Corbett

The Weekly Tendown December 11-17 2011 (The Worst Christmas Song Ever)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dear Internet:

Unlike the previous two Sundays, I'm actually at home.

Where have I been the past two weekends?

That's the grocery store in Gadsden, Alabama.  If you look closer you'll see a special message on the glass.

For the past two weekends I interviewed 3 separate times at two separate colleges in different parts of Alabama, looking for a position for January.  The total travel expense was about fifteen hundred bucks, maybe a tick more.  Credit card bucks, unfortunately.

I didn't get either job; I don't have time to emotionally process it as a blow to my self concept, nor determine the extent to which I should re-evaluate how I practice my craft, as I'm a couple of weeks away from being without a full time job for the first time in 8 years.

I've been downsized (or "rightsized" to use the language of my employer) my full time position is becoming an adjunct position next term.  I'm not alone, not along in the broader profession of college professor, less alone within the field of for-profit education, and right alongside virtually all of my colleagues who remain employed at my particular institution.  I am the primary winner of the bread in my household and the provider of much needed and almost impossible to procure elsewhere health insurance.  The most pressure I have ever felt in my life - more than the bar exam, more than the game show - was walking into an hour long second interview with the president of a community college in Alabama last weekend to pitch her on why I should join her faculty.

I failed.  That's not done to curry reader sympathy.  That's just true.  I walked into that room fully understanding I could not leave, in a Glengarry Glen Ross type of way, without convincing those people they needed to have me on the team.  I swung hard. I failed.

Yes, Alabama would be a curious fit for me, yes.  But beneath me there is no net; there are financial numbers for which I currently do not have answers.

I haven't signed contracts yet, but I've gotten commitments for a total of 8 adjunct courses from 4 different schools, both in classrooms and online, for next term.  I think that's enough to pay the bills; I'm not sure it will cover my Cobra payment, which will begin in February.  I've got applications in to pick up a couple of additional courses; I've sent out multiple letters of inquiry for high school positions; I'm looking for college openings for fall.  I've been standing in front of students, real or virtual, for nearly 15 years.  The balance of evidence would suggest I'm more than good at it. For better or worse, I'm not sure I could be anyone else anymore.

I do not feel great about being me today.  My role in my household is really small; there's not much I bring to our partnership other than an ability to get health insurance.  It is discouraging on the shortside and defeating on the long.  I tend to run a little anxious in the best of times; watch the movie of my life and at almost any particular moment you could identify me as the most person in the room who appeared to be under the most stress.  Over the past couple of years, given the events that have unfolded, there has been more than one occasion where it seemed that all of the blood in my body was boiling.

One assumes, provided nothing calamitous happens, that something will break in my favor. That assumption will not feed my landlord's mortgage however.  Tick, tick, tick.

You'll get links today.

It's Tendown 106.  105 is here.

1. Courtesy of Gawker:

My inclination from the Top Left bracket is to go with "Two Front Teeth"; if it's able to knock off the top seed "Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" I think it cruises to the final four.  In the bottom half of that side of the bracket,  the Band Aid song has been a lifelong irritant, but the beauty of Tendown is I get exposure to awful of which I was otherwise unaware.

Ladies and Gentlemen - a song about buying one's dying mother shoes for Christmas. The Christmas Shoes.

It heads to the Final Four.  On the other side is the juggernaut that is "Grandma Got Run Over"; it goes over the date-rapey top seed "Cold Outside" in the second round (if you've yet to notice that the Jezebel folks don't know how to set up brackets, the 1 v 2 second round matchups are a clue) and makes the Final Four.

I don't know that anything in the final region is a good contender; I'll say "Hark the Herald" is the cinderella of the tourney.

As bad as "Two Front Teeth" is I can't resist The Christmas Shoes, it just brings the schlock so hard that it pulls away down the stretch.  "Grandma Got Run Over" gets to rest its starters in the 4th quarter as it makes the final game.

And then the final.  As bad as "Grandma got Run Over" is - and its bad, it's a bad novelty song.  Which raises the musical question - are there any good novelty songs?  And the answer is not really; I don't know how much worse "Grandma Got Run Over" is than "Like A Surgeon" - and sure, there is no holiday devoted to Weird Al, you aren't ever in a mall stuck listening to "Fat" - but when you think of all the reasons you hate Christmas, it being insufficiently funny is pretty low on the list.

On the other hand:

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

Your winner: The Christmas Shoes.

2. So, Who's Worse?
Notre Dame's Rudy Used Scrappy, Undersized Sports Drink Company To Scam $11 Million Out Of Investors

After almost a decade, the federal government finally got Barry Bonds this week.  30 days home confinement.  Our long national nightmare is over.

So, who is worse - Bonds, or scrappy, plucky, scam artist Rudy.

3. Hey, Right Wing - Welcome!
Look at conservatives hopping aboard the 14th amendment.

4. They Don't Believe in Small Government
So, in Virginia, adoption agencies can discriminate based on sexual orientation, the 14th Amendment notwithstanding.

That doesn't surprise, Florida's prohibition against gays from adopting was only recently overturned.

But there's another, sneaky provision in this language by the Virginia Board of Social Services; prospective parents in Virginia can be turned away because of "political beliefs."

Here's my guess - no one in Virginia will ever be denied the right to adopt because they are too politically conservative.

5. Your 2012 49ers Starting Quarterback

In my preseason picks post, I suggested that the Colts were a good possibility to end the season with the top draft pick, and therefore with Andrew Luck.

Which will raise the question of the destination of one of the five greatest quarterbacks of all time, Peyton Manning.

Bill Barnwell, on the short list for sharpest football writers in the country, says the result that makes the most sense is Manning being dealt to the San Francisco 49ers.

Yes, please.

6. Debtor's Prison
If you get a notice to appear in court, even if its for a debt that you are not challenging, appear.

Or they might lock you up.

Sean Matthews, a homeless New Orleans construction worker, was incarcerated for five months for $498 of legal debt, while his jail time cost the city six times that much. 

7. Toddlers and Tiaras

Fun criticism of a child by a Toddlers and Tiaras parent this week, "get your foot off your other foot."

Like an adult beauty pageant, as the kids take the stage, the announcer will tell us something about them "Tawni likes Spongebob and her favorite food is disco fries" for example.

If my next job is as child pageant host, I'm going to work that criticism into an introduction, "Jennifer enjoys grape drink and putting her foot on her other foot."

I'm getting off the stage.  I got a ton of wrestling to watch.

I'll see you next time, if there is a next time...

Your pal,


The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players of All Time, 2012 Ed. 1-10

Friday, December 16, 2011

The previous ten is here.

1.Babe Ruth RF/LHP Yankees 1914-35 
 MVPQ: 1917, 1932
 Elite: 1916, 1928, 1930
 Inner circle: 1919, 1920, 1921, 1923 (14 wins), 1924, 1926, 1927, 1931
 PA: 10,600
 IP: 1220 

2.Barry Bonds LF Giants/Pirates 1986-07
   OPS+ 181
   MVPQ: 1991, 1995, 1997, 2000
   Elite: 1990, 1998, 2003,
   Inner circle: 1992, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2004
  PA: 12,600

  3.Willie Mays CF Giants 1951-73
   OPS+ 155
   MVPQ: 1960, 1961, 1966
   Elite: 1955, 1957,
   Inner circle: 1954, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965

4.Walter Johnson RHP Senators 1907-27
  ERA+ 147
  Elite: 1916, 1918, 1919
  Inner circle: 1910, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915
  IP: 5900

5. Ty Cobb CF Tigers 1905-28 
    MVPQ: 1912,
    Elite: 1909, 1915,
    Inner circle: 1910, 1911, 1917
    PA: 13,060

6.Roger Clemens RHP 1984-07 Red Sox/Yankees
  ERA+ 143
  MVPQ: 1986, 1992
  Elite: 1987
  Inner circle: 1990, 1997
  IP: 4900

7. Hank Aaron RF Braves 1954-76
    MVPQ= 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1967
     PA: 13,940

8.Cy Young RHP 1890-11 Spiders/Red Sox
   MVPQ= 1892, 1893, 1895, 1902, 1904, 1908
   Elite: 1901,
   IP: 5500

9.Honus Wagner SS Pirates 1897-17
   OPS+ 150
   MVPQ:1901, 1903, 1904, 1909, 1912
   Elite: 1905, 1906, 1907,
   Inner circle: 1908
   PA: 11,750
10.Stan Musial LF/RF/1B 1941-63 Cardinals 
     MVPQ=1944, 1946, 1949
     Elite:1943, 1951
     Inner circle:1948
     PA: 12,700

And so it ends.  The top ten leaves catcher (Bench, Piazza on the first team; Dickey and Carter on the second) first base (Gehrig, Pujols on the first team; Brouthers and Connor on the second) and second base (Hornsby, Lajoie on the first team, Collins, Morgan on the second).

ARod is never going to catch Wagner; he solidly remains the best SS who ever lived; everyone else moves down; Vaughan and Ripken on the second team.   Third base stays the same - Schmidt and Mathews on the first team; Boggs and Chipper on the second.

Bonds and his 13 MVPQ seasons is solidly the best LF who ever lived. Williams is his backup; Musial and Henderson are on the second team. Mays and Cobb are the new center fielders, that bumps Mantle/Speaker to the second team (and DiMaggio off either squad which is madness)  Ruth and Aaron to the first team in right; Ott/Robinson now to the second team.

The arms in this section are Johnson/Clemens/Young in that order - and I think they're the 3 best pitchers who ever lived.

So, two active players on the all time 25 man roster, and Pujols has a chance to be the best first baseman who ever lived by the end of his career.  Piazza's bat makes him maybe a surprise result as the second best catcher of all time.  Four pitchers of recent vintage in the all time top 9: Clemens, Maddux, Pedro, Unit.

Gary Carter's the backup on the B squad, making him the best baseball player of all time I ever met; Chipper has now passed Brett to be the 4th best third baseman of all time.  Rivera's the active player on the B team, his limited use coupled with total dominance in that use makes him the most difficult rank.  Dropping Newhouser and going with only 8 pitchers in order to add DiMaggio would just make things too easy on all of us.

Team One
 C Bench
1B Gehrig
2B Hornsby 
SS Wagner
  3B Schmidt
LF  Bonds
CF   Mays
RF  Ruth
 P W Johnson
    Johnson (L)
Team 2

C Dickey


1B  Brouthers

  2B  Collins
SS Vaughan 
3B  Boggs
LF  Musial
CF  Mantle
RF Ott
   Hubbell (L)
   Newhouser (L) 

I Pick Every NFL Game in 2011 - Week 15

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Last week is here.  I'm 96-105-7 against the spread, 144-64 straight up.

I also missed out on the fantasy playoffs in all 3 of my leagues.

Atl -11.5 Jax (win/win)
Dall -7 TB(win/win)
Hou -6 Carol(loss/loss)
NYG -7 Wash(loss/loss)
Buff -.5 Mia(loss/loss)
Chi -3.5 Sea(loss/loss)
NO -7 Minn(win/win)
Cin -6.5 StL(win/win)
Tenn -6.5 Indy(loss/loss)
GB -14 KC(loss/loss)
Det -1 Oak (push/win)
NE -7 Den(win/win)
Eagles -3 Jets(win/win)
Ariz -7 Cle (loss/win)
Balt -2.5 SD(loss/loss)
Pit +1.5 Niners(loss/loss)

6-9-1, 102-114-8
8-8, 152-72

The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players of All Time, 2012 Ed. 11-20

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The previous ten is here.

11.Tris Speaker 1907-28 CF Indians/Red Sox
     MVPQ=1913, 1916, 1923
     Elite: 1912, 1914

12.Ted Williams LF Red Sox 1939-60
     MVPQ=1948, 1949, 1957
     Elite: 1947
     Inner circle: 1941, 1942, 1946
     PA: 9800

13.Rickey Henderson LF 1979-03 A's/Yankees
    Elite: 1985,
    Inner circle: 1990
    PA: 13,350

14.Rogers Hornsby 2B 1915-37 Cards/Browns
     MVPQ=1917, 1928
     Elite=1920, 1922, 1925, 1927
     Inner circle: 1921, 1924, 1929

15.Eddie Collins 2B White Sox 1906-30
     MVPQ=1912, 1914, 1920
     Elite=1909, 1910, 1915
     Inner circle=1913

16.Greg Maddux RHP 1986-08 Braves/Cubs
     Elite=1994, 1995
17. Mike Schmidt 3B Phillies 1972-89
     Elite=1974, 1977, 1980, 1981
18. Lou Gehrig 1B Yankees 1923-39
     MVPQ=1930, 1931
     Elite=1928, 1934, 1935, 1936
     Inner Circle=1927

19.Tom Seaver RHP 1967-86 Mets/Reds
     Inner circle=1971

20.Pete Alexander 1911-30 RHP Cubs/Phillies
     Inner circle=1915, 1916, 1920
We start with Gehrig v. Pujols.  Gehrig had a better bat (higher OPS+ driven by a higher adjusted slugging); Gehrig's career value is 16 wins greater, and that's significant - but not as significant as the couple of thousand plate appearances he's had beyond Pujols.  Per game, Pujols has more value driven by his superior glove.  Pujols has 8 MVPQ seasons, Gehrig 7; Pujols never had a year as good as Gehrig's best season.  Pujols is 4 healthy years from reaching Gehrig's number of plate appearances; at that point, probably, he's past Gehrig's career value, but at that point, his per game value might be a little less, if he has, in fact, entered his decline phase.  If he hasn't - if he has another couple of MVPQ years left, he goes by Gehrig without question.

It is really close.  You keep Gehrig as your starting first baseman, but Pujols is second.

The best player in MLB history with only ten players left is Hornsby.  He had Gehrig's bat but played second base.  His 9 MVPQ seasons is the current record; he and Ted Williams and Pete Alexander all hit this section with 3 Inner Circle seasons, the current record.  Collins doesn't quite beat out Lajoie, so he and Morgan are the new B team. We're out of second basemen, so that's the final list.  Schmidt's our last third baseman, and there just isn't a good argument for anyone else as the best third baseman of all time.

If Hornsby isn't the best baseball player on the list, it's Williams, the best bat we've seen so far.  He and Rickey go into left field, we slide Robinson over to right with Ott.  Speaker challenges the Yankees.  Williams holds him off - Speaker's got a 20 win advantage but in 3000 more plate appearances.  It's close, Mantle's bat holds him off.  Speaker goes by Joe D solidly however, 40 more wins and the same bat.  3 arms in the sections - they're close, but it's Alexander/Maddux/Seaver.  Alexander's the new best pitcher of all time; Pedro was better per game, but the aggregate value and Alexander's 3 inner circle seasons make him the best.  Maddux is going to move into second, the total value really starts to weigh against Pedro in this section. Seaver moves in behind Nichols on the B team.

With only the ten most valuable players in baseball history left, here are the two all time baseball rosters.

 Team One
 C Bench 
1B Gehrig 
2B Hornsby 

SS Rodriguez 
  3B Schmidt
LF  Williams
CF   Mantle
RF  Ott
    Grove (L)
Team 2

C Dickey


1B  Brouthers

  2B  Collins
SS Ripken
3B  Boggs
LF  Delahanty
CF  DiMaggio
RF Ramirez
P Nichols
   Hubbell (L)
   Newhouser (L) 

Uti Caruthers

2011-2012 College Bowl Predictions

Monday, December 12, 2011

I was 86-79-4 against the spread this season.

I'll pick each game both against the number and straight up, noting if there's a difference.

New Mexico: Temple -6.5 Wyoming(win/win)
Idaho Potato: Ohio +3.5 Utah St.(win/win)
New Orleans: La-La +5 SD St (SD St wins)(win/loss)
Beef O Bradys: FIU -4 Marshall(loss/loss)
Poinsettia: La Tech +11 TCU (TCU wins)(win/win)
Las Vegas: Boise St. -13.5 ASU(win/win)
Hawaii: SMiss -6 Nevada(win/win)
Independence: UNC +5 Missouri (Missouri wins)(loss/win)
Little Caesars: WMich +2.5 Purdue(loss/loss)
Belk: Louisville +2.5 NC St(loss/loss)
Military: Toledo -3 AForce(loss/win)
Holiday: Tex -3 Cal(win/win)
Champs Sports: FSU -3 NDame(win/win)
Alamo: Baylor -9 Wash(win/win)
Armed Forces: BYU - 3 Tulsa (push/win)
New Era Pinstripe: Rutgers -2 Iowa St.(win/win)
Music City: Wake +6.5 Miss St. (Miss St wins)(win/win)
Insight: Iowa +14 Oklahoma (OU wins)(loss/win)
Meineke Car Care: A&M -9.5 Nwestern(win/win)
Sun: Geo Tech -3.5 Utah(loss/loss)
Fight Hunger: Illinois -3 UCLA(win/win)
Liberty: UC +2.5 Vandy(win/win)
Chick Fil A: Virginia +1 Auburn(loss/loss)
Ticket City: Houston -5.5 Penn St.(win/win)
Gator: Ohio St. +2 Florida(loss/loss)
Outback: Mich St. +3.5 UGA(win/win)
Cap One: SCarol -1 Neb(win/win)
Rose: Wisc +6.5 Oreg(loss/loss)
Fiesta: OKSt -3.5 Stan(loss/win)
Sugar: Mich -2 VT(win/win)
Orange: Clem -3 WVA(loss/loss)
Cotton: KSt +7 Ark(Ark wins)(loss/win)
Compass: Pitt -5.5 SMU(loss/loss)
GoDaddy: NIU +1 Ark
BCS: LSU -1 Alabama loss/loss

ATS: 19-15-1
SU: 24-11

The Weekly Tendown Dec 4-10 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dear Internet:

I'm not around.

I do bring gifts, however.  That's a celebrity skiing event from, let's say CBS, last weekend.  On the left, Terrell Owens.  On the right, Robert Kennedy, Jr.  As prophecy foretold.

This is Tendown 105.  104 is here.

1. The Essay You Give to The Republican In Your Life
It's former Bush speechwriter and professional conservative David Frum.

Conservatives have been driven to these fevered anxieties as much by their own trauma as by external events. In the aughts, Republicans held more power for longer than at any time since the twenties, yet the result was the weakest and least broadly shared economic expansion since World War II, followed by an economic crash and prolonged slump. Along the way, the GOP suffered two severe election defeats in 2006 and 2008. Imagine yourself a rank-and-file Republican in 2009: If you have not lost your job or your home, your savings have been sliced and your children cannot find work. Your retirement prospects have dimmed. Most of all, your neighbors blame you for all that has gone wrong in the country. There’s one thing you know for sure: None of this is your fault! And when the new president fails to deliver rapid recovery, he can be designated the target for everyone’s accumulated disappointment and rage. In the midst of economic wreckage, what relief to thrust all blame upon Barack Obama as the wrecker-in-chief.

The Bush years cannot be repudiated, but the memory of them can be discarded to make way for a new and more radical ideology, assembled from bits of the old GOP platform that were once sublimated by the party elites but now roam the land freely: ultralibertarianism, crank monetary theories, populist fury, and paranoid visions of a Democratic Party controlled by ACORN and the New Black Panthers. For the past three years, the media have praised the enthusiasm and energy the tea party has brought to the GOP. Yet it’s telling that that movement has failed time and again to produce even a remotely credible candidate for president. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich: The list of tea-party candidates reads like the early history of the U.S. space program, a series of humiliating fizzles and explosions that never achieved liftoff. A political movement that never took governing seriously was exploited by a succession of political entrepreneurs uninterested in governing but all too interested in merchandising. Much as viewers tune in to American Idol to laugh at the inept, borderline dysfunctional early auditions, these tea-party champions provide a ghoulish type of news entertainment each time they reveal that they know nothing about public affairs and have never attempted to learn. But Cain’s gaffe on Libya or Perry’s brain freeze on the Department of Energy are not only indicators of bad leadership. They are indicators of a crisis of followership. The tea party never demanded knowledge or concern for governance, and so of course it never got them. 

2. How the Right Wing Machine attacks the Occupy Movement.
The five part series is here.

3. Obama Joins the 99%
Obama went to Kansas this week.  And got it right.

4. Here's Bob Reich's Analysis.

5. What's the Net Worth of the Six Walmart Heirs?
As much as the bottom 30% of Americans combined.

6. Hey, Hoops is Coming Back
But the season's already been simulated.  The finals are here.

7. I Lost the Bet
I did not believe there would be any way for Bravo to incorporate the suicide of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills husband Russell into the happiness of the Andy Cohen post show clubhouse, that it would need to be segregated from the rest of the programming and create a discord that would be breached; you can't normalize suicide enough to make it just part of the show.

I was wrong.

8. Who Should be Playing LSU in the Title Game?
The USC Trojans

9. The Pitcher the Giants Should Sign Today
Edwin Jackson

10. Thanks.

My kitten was a good friend for many, many years.

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

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