Every time I type the name Pettitte I always think I'm putting in too many T's.
Guess what name I'm never concerned about misspelling? Good work TBS.
141 is here.. This is Tendown 142
1. Back in the NLCS
The Giants were dead a week ago and now they're not - the Cardinals were dead just a couple of days ago and now they're not.
I don't think we're going to win this series; the Cards as I discussed here, had a better pythagorean record than did SFG, and out of 107 World Series winners only 11 had pythagorean records as low as this year's Giants club.
I teach a course at the new gig with a textbook that really should be called "On the Other Hand" as each theory is essentially presented with a stream of qualifiers. That doesn't bother me; it's good scholarship but can irritate students who just want to hear "this is the right theory, this theory sucks."
So, the Cards are better than the Giants and teams as bad as the Giants rarely win the World Series; on the other hand, 5 of those 11 teams with comparable pythagorean records won the Series this century (including both of those Cardinals winners), as the expansion of the playoffs bring in a larger pool of teams and demonstrate that the best team really doesn't necessarily come out of a short series.
The piece of analysis I'm most comfortable making is the Giants are intentionally going into battle with a suboptimum roster. Which, you know, should draw more attention than it has.
The Nationals went into the playoffs with less than their best possible roster; the narrative through which the DC season will always be remembered is the much criticized decision to shut down Strasburg; I thought conventional wisdom was right - the reason to protect Strasburg as an asset is the belief that he will be able to get you to the World Series. And that's where they were this year; this was the year they needed that asset. It's one thing to have investment property, but if you need a house today just move in.
The Nationals made a conscious decision to be less good than they could have been; it was and will remain and much debated decision.
Melky Cabrera was the Giants second most valuable player this year; I'm not prorating that; even given his missing the last quarter of the season Cabrera was only behind Posey for season long value.
He's healthy - he wants to play - and he's not coming back.
And there's almost no discussion about it; the Giants are going into the NLCS with very little corner outfield production (Blanco producing solidly more than Pence - Hunter Pence has given us virtually nothing; I know he cheerleads and I think it's fun too, but what we need are more extra base hits) and an absolute zero sitting on the bench in Aubrey Huff - but yet they are choosing to keep their second best player at home.
And there's almost no discussion about it. It's a little infuriating; Andy Pettitte (confessed PED user) started Game One for the Yankees, there was no outcry - Ryan Braun (failed a drug test last year, beat it only on a chain of custody technicality) was again one of the five best players in the NL this year, there was no outcry. Guillermo Mota, who came off a hundred game PED suspension this very season and is sitting (hopefully in the very back) of the Giants bullpen right now and there is no outcry.
I'm unsure what the Giants think will happen if Melky Cabrera replaces Aubrey Huff on the NLCS roster.
I'm unsure if we will lose without him (I think we will, but it's like 55/45). I'm unsure if we would win with him, but what I am absolutely certain about is Melky Cabrera is a better baseball player than Aubrey Huff, and that means we are intentionally going into the NLCS with less than our best possible roster.
2. The History of the SFG in the NLCS.
Here's the short version:
'71 - lost to Pirates
'87 - lost to Cardinals
'89 - beat Cardinals
'02- beat Cardinals
Or you could read the long version.
3. Would You Like to Watch Some Videos of Game 5?
4. Would You Like to See Willie Mays (er, apparently it's Mayes?) in a 49ers cap?
The guy in the middle, if you're unfamiliar, is the owner of the San Francisco 49ers. Just in case you were feeling insufficiently old today.
5. Do You Know Who This is?
It's David Siegel. He used to be a billionaire; now he has less than that as his attempt to build a 90,000 square foot house was subject of a documentary this year. This week he sent his employees an email threatening to fire them if Romney doesn't win the election:
I'm going to say this is more common than we think; my previous position was at a for profit college, and for about a year every mandatory faculty meeting I attended included criticism from my boss about the policies of the current administration and how they would negatively impact our industry broadly and possibly our positions specifically. I have been a professional for nearly two decades and have attended meetings through Clinton's second term and Bush's full 8 years - it was not until the current administration that I ever sat in compulsory meetings and heard people for whom I work threaten the security of my job given the outcome of elections.
Here's a second example. And a third.
6. If You Ever Get to Ask Justice Scalia a Question
I've got one for you.
So, here was Scalia talking about some of the controversial, justiciable, issues of the day:
"The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state," Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute.
To whatever extent this got any traction, it was centered just on Scalia discussing cases that may come before him, before they come before him. That's worth talking about, but it's not my angle.
What I want to talk about is the substance; Scalia's saying look - it can't be unconstitutional for a state to criminally penalize homosexuality because the Constitution was ratified in 1789; the Bill of Rights was passed in 1791, and despite that states continued to have laws criminalizing homosexuality until just the past decade. Scalia's saying the Constitution has to permit those laws because those laws remained in place after those dates.
Giving Scalia the benefit of the doubt that really he doesn't mean 200 years, he really means since the passage of the 14th Amendment after the Civil War, we can still have the same discussion. There was an equal protection clause - but still there were laws criminalizing homosexuality. What changed?
Here's where you get to the question.
Justice Scalia; you said the following about the power of the state to criminalize homosexual conduct "for 200 years it was criminal in every state." Under that reasoning, shouldn't states have the ability to prohibit interracial marriage, given for 100 years after the passage of the 14th amendment, there were states that had that prohibition? Under that reasoning, shouldn't states have the ability to curtail individual gun ownership, given that for 200 years after the passage of the 2nd amendment, states passed those restrictions; in fact, should any the protections of the Bill of Rights apply against state governments at all, given that it was not until the 20th century that courts decided to read the constitution in a way that would make those Bill of Rights freedoms that each American possessed regardless of in what state we lived. From Brown v Board of Ed to Citizens United please explain how the reasoning that you wish to apply to laws criminalizing homosexuality would not undo a massive amount of American jurisprudence.
And let me know how that works out.
8. Oh, Lance...
Barry Bonds is the second greatest player in the history of baseball. He owns both the single season and career home run records.
But baseball and sports media told you it didn't count; told you it wasn't happening; told you that it wasn't real. They did it day after day for years and years. Probably you believe them. The San Francisco Giants organization believes them - the lack of commemoration for Bonds's career, given the way the Giants have systematically mythologized lesser greats like McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal is appalling; the degree to which the Giants want to run into the embrace of conventional wisdom at the expense of the man most responsible for building their stadium does not speak well of their organizational integrity.
It's also, of course, the primary reason why Melky Cabrera sits at home and Aubrey Huff sits on the bench.
Huff sure did have a weird late career offensive spike in 2010 and then fall completely off the table.
I spent most of the past ten years pointing at Lance Armstrong; the sports mythmakers made a clear choice to deify him while demonizing Bonds, and here's where we sit in 2012; 11 teammates testifying against him.