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Saturday, January 31, 2004

Response to comment 

The question posed was whether there was any good from the war in Iraq:

Well I do believe a lot of good happened from the War in Iraq. There is not a single person who believes Sadaam was a good influence on the people of Iraq - he gassed the Kurds, actively persecuted one of the Muslim faiths (I don't know which one off-hand), and was an ruthless dictator who lived in luxury while many others suffered. And, one can argue, and quite successfully, that a more Pro-American Iraqi government, combined with a more stable Iraqi economy, will result in better trade between the countries (aka lower oil and gas prices). Further, Iraqi's free-market economy is propspering relative to what it had before. And yes, one could argue that countries like Syria and North Korea are more likely to listen to us now.

Good did come out of the war. But does that justify the spending? Does that justify what was essentially a pre-emptive war (the only argument was that Iraq had WMD and therefore was a threat, and we haven't found the WMD yet. Even if we do, do we know they were planning to use them on us)? Unless you want to try to prove that even without WMD, Sadaam was a direct threat to us, then there was no true justification for war.

The time for military intevention is if a country poses a direct threat (and I stress direct, aka we have info that they were going to attack us), or if they did in fact attack us (I agree with going after Osama and his terrorist branch, note that Sadaam had NO link to 9/11 or Osama, Sadaam actually does not like Osama due to the religious fundamentalism that Osama preaches).

And the poster noted that chances are, even the most impressive military force will not get fundamentalist Islaamic terrorists to "change their ways", a statement I agree with totally.

As for the democrats side, I would go with Kerry of those three, but mostly due to the fact that with a currently neo-republican (aka Bush-style spendings and policies) controlled House and Senate, the more liberal the president, the more conflict. The more conflict, the less likely either parties dumb policies get passed. When Clinton was feuding with the Republicans, was that not one of the few times we actually had a balanced budget? Seriously, Dean actually strikes me as who I would want the most (besides Sharpton, which would be for pure comical relief), not becuase of his policies, but because I really don't see either him or the republican-controlled congress or senate getting anything done. I see bitter feuds and bitter battles reminscent of Newt v. Clinton, and frankly, the more feuding, the less ridiculous wasteful spending we did.

In a vacuum, however, ignoring the "I want the most feuding between the president and the Congress", I think I would go to Kerry. But truthfully, it is a lesser of all evils and either way, I would "lose".

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Colorado Using Sex Parties As Recruiting Tool? 

ESPN is reporting that Colorado Is Being Accused Of Using Sex Parties To Recruit
If this is true, Colorado should be put on severe sanctions. This is ridiculous.
Maybe Lionel Hutz should represent them.

I Am A Liberal and Damn Proud Of It 

First of all, it's mind bogglingly stupid to say that government programs are just robbing people of money. They provide the jobs that keep the economy going, without government programs many people don't have jobs. One of the main points of FDR's New Deal was to provide jobs to Americans who were fired from their jobs because of a ridiculous trickle down theory that failed miserably. Just completely getting rid of many of these programs will create unemployment, which will sink the economy into an even deeper recession. Some of these programs that are claimed to tell people how to spend their money is a flat out joke. Social Security doesn't tell you how to spend your money, it just is a savings account so you have money when you retire. Granted there are problems, but nothing a little ingenuity can't fix (which i'm told is an American strongsuit). The EPA is a program that needs to be in place otherwise the environment goes to hell, which is i'm sure where some people would like it to go. Without the EPA or environmental controls, businesses will run roughshot through the environment with no costs to themselves, with all the costs placed on the consumer. This, as anyone who has taken a college economics class can tell you, will lead to overproduction (this is bad). How can a person say that someone should die because they don't have enough money to pay for a surgery? How can you say that a person should not be able to take medicine because they cannot afford it? There is no valid argument against that. None. To top it off, it's actually cheaper for the government to provide health care for all Americans. Even Ford's CEO has all but said we need single payer health care, as they pay an astounding $1,200 on health care for every vehicle they build (I thought i read somewhere that he did say we need single payer health care, but alas, I can't find it anywhere).

Taxes go to government programs, but these programs include the military, the police force, the fire department, public transportation, public schools, and universities. Taxes go to build a solid infrastructure of America. An infrastrucutre that most people rely on yet don't think they do. They are not robbing hardworking Americans, but rather rewarding hardworking Americans, as most of the country is hardworking. That's all I got for now as i'm tired, more at some point later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The right move is not always the right result. 

What always gets me is people's inability to seperate the right move with the right result. Some managers can make all the right moves and still lose, and some managers can make all the wrong moves and still win. Usually, the wrong move gets the wrong result, such as Grady Little leaving in Pedro Martinez too long, and the right move get the right result, such as virtually any time Joe Torre calls on Mariano Rivera to close out a game.

But other times, it's not so clear. Here are a list of examples where the right move produced the wrong result, but people actually criticize the move made, even though it was the right move. This isn't nearly as big of a deal because in most instances, the manager is not blamed, but rather the player is "blamed" (or someone else is credited). Game 7 of the 2001 World Series is the best example. Joe Torre called on Mariano Rivera to close out the door and he blew the save. I don't think there's a single person in the entire world who would argue that Joe Torre made the wrong move.

But there are other quality examples, and in some of these examples, the person responsible for the move was only criticized after the fact, which is wrong. You have to be willing to criticize the move BEFORE the result (first-guess). 2nd guessers are assholes; have the balls to be a first guesser. The Rockets not trading Ralph Samson for Micheal Jordan was the right move - Samson at the time was going to be a damn good basketball player and Jordan wasn't supposed to become anything close to what he did become. The TrailBlazers drafting Sam Bowie can be questioned, the Rockets declining the offer of Jordan for Samson can not. People have actually had the audacity to question the Reds wisdom in trading for Ken Griffey Jr. One can question being so stubborn to trade Pokey Reese but being happy to part with Mike Cameron, but you can't question the move in any way shape or form. Any person, paticularly a Reds fan, who actually has the audacity to do so better remember how happy he was when the Reds GOT Griffey - and if you can honestly say you predicted his complete collapse, well, can you please start working for me as a wall street analyst? For those football fans, remember the move Jim Mora made in the 2001 playoffs (of the 2000 season)? He elected to let Mike Vanderjagt attempt a 49 yard field goal in overtime, declining a off sides penalty that would have given the Colts a 3rd and 7 with a chance to get a 1st down - he elected to take the result of the play (4th and 2), and let Vanderjagt win it. The announcer at the time: "Jim Mora just showed more faith in his kicker than I have ever seen any coach do" - and he should have, because Vanderjagt was amazing that year and that game. He missed. But the people who criticized the decision afterwards have no spine or brain. It was the right move. They lost the game, but you can't blame that move.

However, the more important concept is if a person makes the wrong move, and gets the right result, because often times he is hailed as a hero even though he is merely lucky.

Jack McKeon made a host of great moves during the playoffs, but his decision to bring in Josh Beckett on 3 days rest was totally dumb. It worked, because Beckett's a damn good pitcher and I think Beckett was going to win no matter what, but let's review. By starting Beckett on 3 days rest, had Beckett lost, he would have turned to Carl Pavano on 3 days rest most likely. Now you've got two guys going on 3 days rest. He could have also started any of the other options in game 6, such as Mark Redman (and had Pavano ready in the bullpen), and saved Josh Beckett for game 7, in which he would have had a full 4 days rest. Now, even though there is enough evidence to argue that a pitcher on 3 days rest is not nearly as effective, some people don't think the difference is that big for a "quality" pitcher like Josh Beckett. However, no one can ever argue that a pitcher is BETTER on 3 days rest. So the debate hinges on Carl Pavano on 3 days rest versus Mark Redman on 4 days rest on full rest, and that is of course if you don't think Beckett is worse on 3 day rest (I do). Even without the Beckett difference, Mark Redman on full rest or Carl Pavano on 3 days rest? And if someone says, well he could have started Mark Redman in game 7 if he wanted to, then why not flip-flop Redman and Beckett - why force a guy to go on 3 days rest to give Mark Redman a 6th day of rest? (He's not 2001 David Cone)

The argument presented by the 3-day-rest side then turns to aura and mystique. Apparently, Game 6 at Yankee Stadium is not a very high pressure situation, but Game 7 is. Apparently, if a guy can pitch Game 7 in Wrigley Field, out of the bullpen, and if a guy can pitch Game 6 on 3 days rest, that doesn't neccessarily mean he has the "guts" to pitch Game 7 in Yankee Stadium. HORSESHIT. Let me tell you about aura and mystique and pressure - they are a crapload of shit. Just like post-season experience - let's see, '96 Yankees beat the "experienced" '97 Yankees, and the '02 Angels and '03 Marlins sure had a LOAD of post-season experience there. And back to aura and mystique, paticularly when it involves. It seems when the Yankees win, it's due to mystique and aura. How come mystique and aura are not mentioned when they lose? Where was lady aura last year when the Angels singled and doubled the Yankees into submission? Where was the sultry mystique when the Yankees came back in the top of the 9th to tie Game 4 of the World Series - aren't those games where aura and mystique guide the Yankees to victory? Why didn't either of those two forces knock down the home run that won the game> Mystique and Aura were where I know they always are - dancing at the strip club with Ice, Cherry and Kandy.

And as for "pressure" pitchers, though I personally believe that the notion is shit, there are many people who believe some pitchers, like Kenny Rogers, can not pitch in the clutch. Fine. But in this case, it doesn't apply. How can you say you don't know if Josh Beckett can handle the pressure of pitching in Game 7 of the World Series but trust him to pitch Game 6 on 3 days rest? He already proved his "clutchness" when he pitched out of the bullpen in Game 7 @ Wrigley. Can you honestly tell me the difference between Game 6 and Game 7 is that much? No.

There are plenty of other examples of the wrong move yielding the right result and the right move yielding the wrong result. It's a concept that people most understand. Jack McKeon made a host of great moves and deserves to be noted for that. But Josh Beckett on 3 days rest was not one of them. It's up there with other great examples of wrong move, right result. How about when the Cubs signed Sammy Sosa to a ridiculously expensive (at the time) long term deal after the 1996 season when he hit 40 home runs. I believe the deal was for 5 years 50 million, if someone has the exact data you can correct me. But he then preceeded to have a fairly predictable 1997. The Cubs knew they made a mistake. They then got EXTREMELY lucky in that Sammy Sosa proceeded to then have what APPEARED TO BE AT THE TIME one of the biggest one year flukes in history, only to follow it up with 3 more amazing seasons. One year flukes are possible, but a 4 year run is clearly an established skill level.

Sammy Sosa's improvement ranks as one of the biggest jumps in performance of all time. It was unprecented for a man to jump from one level of skill to a much higher level, and stay, at his age of 28. 24, maybe, but for an established major league with 7+ Major League years behind him, it's unheard of. There was NO way it was predictable, and if anyone wants to argue that the Cubs predicted it and knew it was coming, then well, you're just plain fucked up. It was completely unpredictable and the Cubs lucked out - the ridiculously over-priced great player became the somewhat underpaid superstar.

Don't give the Cubs credit, consider them lucky.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

I am a REAL republican. 

Okay. I am a REAL republican. What does that mean? That means exactly what the republican party was meant to stand for, small government. (It also means I'm not a racist biggot, but that's for another day). I want the government to stay the fuck out of my life, pardon my french. Now, why do I have to state that I am a REAL republican? Because, quite frankly, the current Republican stance on issues is so far removed from what they claim to be it is sad.

That's not to say I like liberals. I hate liberals. I don't see how a person can trust the government to solve their problems, when any time the government steps in to solve problems, all you get is inefficency, resentment, and more problems. The government is rarely the answer. Though only the most hardcore libertarian believes that there should be no taxes, taxes should be kept as low as possible at all times, because taxes are robbery. There is no reason why one man's taxes need to go to an over-expanding federal government that tries to solve way too many problems and ends up just fucking everything up. Welfare, Social Security, Medicaid, EPA, Drug Enforcement Agency are just a few examples of stupid government programs that rob hard working american men and women of the fruits of their labor and tell them how to spend their MONEY. Private organizations can accomplish the same things as "social aid" programs like Welfare, with more efficiency and on top of that, it's not a forced payment!

The government is not the answer. Raising taxes and then spending them on government programs is not the answer. But, at least, liberals have a consistent theory. They want to raise taxes and raise spending. It makes sense if only that you're spending money you HAVE. That's where republicans confuse the heck out of me. Look, Bush ran under the platform of his tax cut. I supported it. I think it should go farther. But that's about where my support of Bush ends.

First, let's get to the biggest and most blatant abuse of government ever, the Patriot Act, signed by the man who is anything but a republican, John Ashcroft. The Patriot Act is perhaps the single most ridiculous expansion of a police state and so horribly atrocious that it makes me wonder if Ashcroft would have supported McCarthyism. If I continued on this topic, I would write for another 35 pages.

Second, the War in Iraq. Let me again, state the core of republicanism: SMALL GOVERNMENT. A small government does not go into a country that does not pose a direct threat. I stress the words "direct threat". Since there have been no WMDs found and no proof of a looming threat, how can Bush claim victory is this regard? How can he say that the War was justified? One other answer given by conservatives is that removing Sadaam from power was good because we removed an evil dictator and liberated the Iraqi people, and that now there is a free and (somewhat) prospering Iraqi economy. Why was that worth $87 billion or whatever the (growing) tab is at? How is that fiscal responsibility and small government? Republicans?!?!?!?!? You are supposed to be the party of small government, not let's waste money because I want to finish what my daddy couldn't!

I'm not going to even touch corporate bailouts or the Hailburton scandal. If you haven't figured out where I stand on that issue, then you just weren't reading the past 3 paragraphs.

Issue 3 that offends me: Moral Highground. It is NOT the responsbility of the government to tell consenting adults what they can and can not do with their lives. Further, it is not the government's responsbility to figure out who can marry and who can not. Leave that to churches. Certain churches will not recongize gay couples, others will. Gay couples who want to marry can find institutions that will marry them, and people who have a religious problem with homosexuals will frequent insitutions that do not codone the activity. You can expand that to other areas. Prayers in school. Ideally, schools would be completely private. Since that's not a pratical possibility for a LONG time, parents should be able to choose different schools and not be forced to a certain school. Schools can then choose - certain schools will require prayers, others will ban such activities. I can continue, but for brevity I will stop. You get the idea.

But finally, perhaps almost as puzzling (though not as expensive as the War or truly horrendous as the Patriot act), is the "compassionate conservatism", or let's spend like liberals (even though we lower taxes like true Republicans should), but on conservative causes. A healthy marraige act? Government money to religious charities? What the hell is going on here? Somebody? How is this fiscal responsbility? How is this the government staying out of your lives?

AND WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM, WE JUST LOWERED TAXES!!!!!! Lower taxes (no, supply side economics does not work. You lower taxes given the current tax rates, you get less revenue into the government, supply side economics is for when the tax rate is like 99%, not what it is at now), but RAISE SPENDING? On the military and religion? What?????

I just don't get it. Liberals at least have a consistent theory - we are going to attempt to solve all of societies inequalities by taxing the more fortunate and helping the less fortunate. Yes, it is forced redistribution, but at least we have the money to spend from raising taxes. Conservatives make no sense. Lower taxes, but still spend like Ted Kennedy at a bar, but just on different causes?

I am a real republican. I am a libertarian. Yes, there exists the Libertarian Party. It's making progress, but let's be honest, it's not exactly booming right now. Plus the idea of no child labor laws and voluntary jury duty scare me (voluntary jury duty will mean old retired people and unemployed crack heads serving jury duty...yes, that is a jury by your peers). So hopefully enough real republicans will stand up and we can take this country back.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Monday, January 26, 2004

Peter Forsberg 

How good is Peter Forsberg right now? Whenever the man plays (not very much this year) he's scoring points like it's going out of fashion. the 1.696 points per game he's doing, if over a 82 game season would be 139 points, which hasn't been seen since 1995-96 (Super Mario scored 161 points, and Forsberg himself had a not too shabby 118 points). Here are the points per game leaders this year (minimum 20 games):



Nice group there, and Forsberg totally blows them all away. In fact, Forsberg would have 34 points more over an 82 game schedule than Marc Savard. Last year's Forsberg that won the Hart (MVP) and Art Ross (Scoring Title) tropheys scored 1.41 points per game, beating out Mario who had 1.35. Forsberg career wise compares favorably to an ex-linemate of Mario's who's bloated contract makes people ignore the fact that he's scoring at a point per game pace, which in this NHL is a good thing. Career wise through last night's game


If Forsberg decides to continue playing in the NHL, which at this point no one knows, he's a sure fire HoFer, and probably an inner circle HoFer along the lines of Marcel Dionne who's 1.31 PPG is similar. Of course thats a huge statement to make about someone who would need to play a bunch more full season's, which he hasn't been able to do lately.

Just for shits and giggles...


Mario's 9 points in 10 games this year has dropped him below The Great One and into 2nd place by a hair.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Astros Best Rotation?!?! 

What is going on here people? How does anyone think that the Astros have the best rotation in the majors? Clemens and Pettitte added to Miller and Oswalt makes it a good rotation, but in the class of Mussina, Brown, Vazquez, Contreras, or Pedro, Schilling, Lowe, Wakefield. No chance. Even the Cubs and A's are right there with the Yankees and Red Sox.
For simplicity I'll use ERA+, and the top 4 pitchers because, we're still not sure who is going to be the #5 for most of these rotations. ERA+ 3 is the ERA+ for the 3 past years, and ERA+ 1 is the ERA+ for last year. On to the Rotations.
The Astros top 4 pitchers



Now, Groiny is a true ace, he pitches and dominates. The other three are nice pitchers, who all have some health questions.

Compare those four with the Red Sox top 4.



Pedro, Schill, and solid pitchers in Lowe, and Wakefield. The big 2 are very very very good, and the 3 and 4 of Lowe and Wakefield are better then the 3 and 4 of the Astros. Lowe, and Wakefield in the past 3 years have been better than EVERY SINGLE PITCHER ON THE ASTROS EXCEPT OSWALT. How can anyone think the Astros starters are better then the Red Sox? In fact, I don't know if any starters are better than these 4. Let's move on to the Yankees top 4.



The Yankee rotation matches up well with the Red Sox. The Yankees front 2 aren't as good as the Red Sox, but the back 2 are probably better than the Red Sox. Pedro is what differentiates these 2 rotations, with him doing his best Dutch Leonard impression. In a weird statistical oddity, the Brown, Vazquez, and Mussina all had terrible years (for them) in 2002. Brown dropped from 152 to 79. Vazquez went from 135 to 106, and Mussina dropped from 142 to 108. All of these guys can expect to be in their 2001, and 2003 ranges. Next, on to the 2 "Best Young Rotations©"



The big 3 are probably slightly overrated, but still very good nonetheless. This rotation doesn't deserve to be mentioned with the Yankees or Red Sox unless The other young guy, Rich Harden Blossoms immediately, ala Zito in his first year.



Cubs clearly do not belong in this conversation, unless they sign Maddux, and Prior blossoms even more and becomes Pedroesque.

All of these rotations have health questions, none as much as the Astros, none. Oswalt has no groin, Pettitte's elbow is always scary, name any part of Clemens legs and they are probably an injury risk. Miller as far as I can tell (which isn't very far) doesn't have many injury problems.

I'd probably rank these rotations as Yankees/Red Sox tie, then A's, Cubs, and finally Astros. Cubs before Astros basically because Prior is sooo good. But that's why we play the games.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Why is it so impressive that a man sprints to first base on a walk? 

I understand hustling to get from 1st to 3rd on a hard-hit single to center, and that deserves credit. Some players do that and deserve praise, others do not and should be reprimanded. But sprinting to 1st base on a walk is nothing more than hotdogging it - it's hustle that in no way helps the team win - false hustle. I'd rather have a guy save his energy for the time he needs it then wasting it trying to impress some idiot writer in the box who thinks sprinting to 1st on a walk is worthy of an entire column and thinks that a man who does so has outstanding moral character.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Do people not realize that Barry Bonds is the best player in a LONG, LONG time? 

Barry Bonds just posted one of the greatest seasons of all time. Sadly, it was an off-year for him.

After two previous years of 1.379 and 1.381 OPS (for those who are not very smart, OPS is a pretty quick short hand way to measure overall value at the plate. It's pretty damn effective), which are the highest and 3rd highest (Ruth had a 1.379 that is slightly better when you go to another decimal point, but other stats prove why Bonds had the two greatest single seasons ever by a hitter), he posted a "measley" 1.278, good for 1st in his league by 170 points or so. Yet sadly, he wasn't the unaminous MVP, just like he wasn't the unamious MVP the year he broke the HOME RUN RECORD. He lost 3 first place votes to Albert Pujols and 1 to Gary Sheffield - what the hell were these coke-head writers snorting and can I please have some?

Look, there are only two possible explinations for why a man breaks the HR and OPS record and loses 2 first place votes to a DAMN GOOD PLAYER WHO IS JUST NOT AS GOOD AS BARRY BONDS, or a man puts up an OPS 170 points higher than someone else and the other guy gets 3 first place votes. First is some deep seeded hatred (paging Rick Reilly) to a man who is aloof, and selfish, no doubt, no question. Is he a jerk to the media? Sometimes. WHO CARES? THE MAN IS THE GREATEST PLAYER CURRENT PLAYING BASEBALL. Rick Reilly, and PLENTY of others, misquoted the man in an article post 2002 world series to make him look nasty, evil and dangerous - so clearly, some people just have vendetta's. Sad that these people call themselves writers. The other reasons, such as playing for a winning team and "leading your team to the playoffs", apply to Bonds. So it's really only one of those two possibilites.

Others look at the one stat the Bonds does not do well in, RBIs, and somehow make a crackhead case that without RBIs, you can't be valuable. Well, true, a great player drives in runs, but first, it's dependent on the team..........but, yes, Bonds played on good teams these last 3 years.....so that excuse doesn't work.

BUT, let's look at WHY Bonds does not drive in runners. Is it because he's not clutch? (No, I think that was answered in the 2002 playoffs), or is it because, simply, no one will pitch to him? The answer is the latter:

2001:
Bonds (with RISP): 89 At-Bats, a .389 average, a .650 on-base and a .944 slugging - 944! , a 1.594 OPS! The man is insane. So why no RBIs? Because with the 89 at-bats came 71, 71 WALKS!!!!

Sosa, on the other hand (with RISP): 139 At-Bats, a .324 average, .512 OBP, and .691 Slugging. GREAT numbers, but not Bonds-like. And oh yah, only 63 walks.

It wasn't the clutch-ness, it was the fact that pitchers REFUSED TO FACE BARRY BONDS.

2003, same story:

Bonds (with RISP): 77 at-bats, .338 average, .654 on-base, .558 slugging, and 73 walks. That means he got walked as often as he got to hit with runners on base! How can he get RBIs that way!!!

Pujols (with RISP) 131 at-bats, .374 average, .476 on-base, .756 slugging, and 29 walks.

I admit Pujols has a better slugging average than Bonds with RISP. In fact, a case could be made Pujols did better. But, I think one must look at the walks again. Pitchers were not AFRAID OF PUJOLS with runners on base. Pitchers were so afraid of Bonds, so sickened by the thought of Bonds launching a homer with runners on base, they just didn't PITCH TO HIM (hence the MUCH higher OBP)

Now I know people argue that with men on base you gotta expand your strike zone and get the ball in play, but you do think for one second that this applies to Barry Bonds? Come on. This man knows exactly which pitches he can hit and which he can not, and I guarantee you that the pitches he was not swinging at were sliders so far in the dirt and off the plate Bonds could go up there without a bat and STILL draw walks.

The man was held reponsible for being SO DAMN GOOD that pitchers turned into the French when they saw him. Either that, or some writers just won't let grudges go and for that, they should be banned from ever voting on the MVP.

Sammy Sosa and Albert Pujols were damn great players who had great years when a god was having a god like year. That's nothing to be ashamed of.

Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Monday, January 05, 2004

Why even the AP should have voted for LSU. 

I'm going to ignore the BCS. That's for another day. I believe there needs to be a playoff, but if you don't have a playoff, the current BCS is a VERY good system. I say eliminate "number of losses" from the formula and it's a great one. But that's for another day. Ignoring the BCS, still, LSU is the national champion. There is no argument for USC.

LSU played a tougher schedule, and beat better opponents. First, they are in a tougher conference. If you can't see that, then you're probably as smart as Scott Layden. LSU beat 4 ranked opponents, USC beat 2 (that includes bowls). The SEC LSU's loss came to a ranked team, USC's loss did not. Yes, USC beat Michigan more convincingly than LSU beat Oklahoma, but Oklahoma is better than Michigan. The computers are right. Why are the humans wrong, "The computers don't calculate when you lose a game. Humans calculate when you lose a game."

Exactly. The polls think that losing a game later in the year is worse than early in the year. A loss is a loss. USC and LSU each lost once, and LSU had a better overall year. Let's explain why the polls are stupid (Note, the polls provide one good thing, they're good for figuring out which teams are great, good, and not so good. It provides a nice off-hand. Though they may get the details, such as 1 and 2, or 4 and 7, they don't put a team that is 7th best at 25, or the 24th best at 8. So the polls do a good job for things like "You were 3-0 versus Top 25 teams"). The polls are stupid because they put too much weight on the most recent game. As Joe Sheehan (from baseballprospectus.com) so nicely points out, the polls are an initial guess that get remodified each week. If you rank the teams based on # of losses, and adjust a small bit for big coference/small conference, odds are high that the later losses are ranked lower in the polls and the early losses higher. Bullshit. A loss is a loss. Here are some fun stupidity within the rankings. Ohio State is Number 4, Michigan, number 6. Just what, two games ago, Michigan humilated Ohio State? Now, the next game, the bowl game, because Ohio State beat a lower ranked Kansas State, and Michigan lost to the same team the AP POLL THINKS IS THE BEST IN THE LAND! Wait. Ohio Sate beats up a good team, Michigan loses to the apparent best team, and Ohio State is better? Why? JUST ONE GAME AGO MICHIGAN HUMILATED OHIO STATE. Now, one can make an argument for Ohio State, and it rests on the number of losses (2 to Michigan's 3). It's a fine counter. But I know for a fact, and everyone here knows it, that's not why the AP put them there. The AP put Ohio State above Michigan because Ohio State won their bowl game and Michigan did not. You want another example? The week before the bowls, Georiga, fresh off their loss to (at the time, and still, number 2 ranked LSU), had dropped to 11. K-State, fresh off their trashing of Oklahoma, had climbed to 8. You really want to tell me Georiga is worse than K-State? Come on now, let's be serious.

You can go throughout history. When teams have same number of losses, the tiebreaker most often used is not strength of schedule, or quality of wins, but who lost later. Such a dumb system. There is not a single good argument one could make for USC other than they lost later in the year. And if that's your only point, you've lost the debate.

There are a couple of reasonable points to make in USC's defense. Their loss DID come in 3OT and they (I believe) had a wider margin of victory. Okay. Still doesn't make up for the strength of schedule, but still, reasonable arguments. But, do any of these AP writers present this? No. They talk about how good USC looked, how they "seem" better, "look" better, "feel" better, that the USC team on the field has more talent. This subjective shit is why we have computers. Subjective views are not dependable. One man can see USC's team and see why they are so good, another can see LSU. Both media members may have seen one team more often and therefore, will vote for them. I mean, if I saw LSU a lot, I'd think they're unstoppable. If I saw USC a lot, I'd think the same. Subjective is a horrible way to judge something, paticularly media members who probably didn't see enough of BOTH teams to make a rational judgement. Further, just because USC has more talent on the field doesn't mean they had the better year. The national championship goes to the team who had the best year.

Arguments for LSU: Tougher schedule, more quality wins, loss came to a ranked team.
Arguments for USC: Better margin of victory, loss came in 3OT.

If you think USC's margin of victory puts them ahead of LSU, then you better think Miami of Ohio should be in the Top 5. One loss, high margin of victory...

Look, LSU played a tougher schedule and came out with the same record. They are better. The computers, 6 of the 7, ranked LSU higher because they were better (rankings pre-bowl for the computers). The other one is the Times, which puts a LOT of weight on the more recent games, so we know why USC is higher.

LSU is the national champion. If you think USC is better because they "seemed" better, or because "you feel that they can't be beaten", or because "the AP writers said so", you're an idiot. End of story. The statistics don't lie, the records speak for themselves, LSU is better.


Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Yankees Have A Left Handed Pitching Problem? 

"They need a left-handed starter," one major league advance scout said. "At Yankee Stadium, teams are just going to stack their lineups with left-handed hitters. I don't know who it would be, but you have to have a left-hander there."

The Yankees do not have to have a left handed pitcher in their rotation at all. People like to think that you need a lefty so that you give teams different looks to throw them off balance. The truth of the matter is, you need guys who can get hitters out regardless of what arm they throw with. Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Mike Mussina, Jose Contreras, and Jon Lieber can get guys out, and they can get lefties out. None of those guys have a severe split against lefties, like Jeff Weaver had. Let's see what the splits look like against lefties for the past 3 years.

Name Avg OBP SLG
Pettitte .284 .317 .389
Clemens .224 .300 .347
Wells .236 .283 .390
Brown .255 .321 .339
Vazquez .246 .298 .422
Contreras .203 .299 .294

Granted, there are some sample size problems with Contreras, and Brown pitched in Chavez Ravine, but it looks like Brown, Vazquez, Contreras gain some OPB, and lose some Slugging. Overall, it should be about a wash. But if teams just load up on lefties, it will give Torre a late inning advantage over the opposition where they can just let a lefty like Gabe White, or Felix Heredia go through the opposition fairly easily. This is the philosophy used against Randy Johnson, which I don't understand. I'd rather have a better lefty hitter in against him, then a really crappy righty and if i'm facing the Yankees rotation, i'll put my best 9 guys against them. Of course splits do make a difference, i.e. Eric Karros won't be playing against any righties if I had a choice, but the better righty on righty is a better matchup then a crap lefty on righty.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Terrell Owens Is A Nice Guy 

I keep on hearing complaints about how Terrell Owens is a cancer, Terrell Owens is bad for the team. These people are wrong. Owens is an incredible talent who works insanely hard and wants the ball because he is the best player on the team and can help the team win. He openly complains to coordinators when he doesn't get the ball, not because he's selfish as some people have you believe, but rather because he knows when he gets the ball he will gain yards and help the team, and that's the truth. Would you rather have the ball in Tai Streets hands, or would you give the ball to Terrell Owens and let him run all over the other team? People want you to believe he's a cancer, but there are few others who want to win more than Owens. He simply does not complain when they win, he takes more satisfaction in winning than anything else. He gets labeled as a cancer when truly he is just insanely competitive. The cancer label is in fact mostly a joke, most players turn into a cancer when their team is losing. Mo Vaughn was signed by the Anaheim Angels as their 1B for his production and veteran leadership, when his production fell and the team started losing, he became a cancer. Why? Because the media wanted him to be a cancer. The media decides who is a cancer and who isn't. The teammates might not like a guy, but it really does not concern them all that much because it is their job, and most people don't love everyone they work with. I.e. It's reported that David Wells did not have many friends on the Yankees other than David Cone, but no one really cared. Wells did his thing, everyone else did their own. Everyone was content. Why is it that Gary Sheffield was a cancer on the Marlins, and Dodgers but when he went to the Braves he was the veteran leader of the team? How did this happen? How did Latrell Sprewell go from cancer in the Golden State Warriors, to leader on the Knicks, back to cancer again? Sprewell consistently showed up late to practice. When the Knicks were winning no one cared, but when the Knicks started losing they constently were on his case. Sprewell, to his credit, saw right through the hypocracy and is probably one of the reasons he is on the TWolves right now. Allen Iverson held a press conference telling people he never went to practice! PRACTICE!! We're talking about PRACTICE Yet the media never called him a cancer when the 76ers were in the finals, and still don't, as long as they are winning. That is the key to not being called a cancer, winning and be quotable, as Brett Hull and Charles Barkley figured out.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Alex Rodriguez Is Underpaid. 

When you are consistely posting near 1.000 OPS FROM THE SHORTSTOP POSITION, have had 8 straight years of good numbers with only one year of any real injury, always at the top of the leaderboard in every category, play great defense, again, from the SS position, are good-looking and marketable, and good with the media to boot, heck when you will be remembered as one of the top 10 baseball players of all time, and are currently the 2nd best player in baseball only because the best player in baseball is a freak god who is one of the top 3 of all time and on Human Growth Hormone, you are worth every damn penny of 25 million dollars. The Texas Rangers are ridiculously stupid. Not for paying A-Rod 25 million, that's good business. He's worth it. You ask Billy Beane what he would do with A-Rod, and he would take him. Do you know how easy it is to build a winner with A-Rod at SS? Heck, with A-Rod at SS, and Hank Blalock, Mark Teixiera and Micheal Young, each who make the minimum, as your infield, at 26 million dollars? The Montreal Expos were tabbed in at 51 million dollars, according to USA Today, for Total Payroll. We'll use them, because that's MLB's pet team, so they CAN NOT lose money. 51 million dollars. 26 on the infield That leaves, let's say 25 million dollars for the rest of the team? You are telling me that anyone with half a brain can't do that? A half-decent farm system providing the bullpen and outfield, and one or two quality pitchers, that's all you need, with that infield. For christ's sake, it's completely ridiculous that anyone would blame Alex Rodriguez for why the Rangers are losing. Further, let's say you're in a somewhat big market, like say, the Cubs, with an 80 million dollar payroll (USA TODAY). 80-26 = 54. 54 million dollars for pitching and an outfield? Plus, a half-decent farm system takes care of the bullpen, so 50 million for starters and an outfield?

Come on. Texas is not losing because of A-Rod. In fact, A-Rod is the most valuable player in the AL. Valuable does not mean you have to be on a team that makes the playoff. Further, valuable does NOT mean that just because you got traded to a team and they started winning, that you are the MVP. Shannon Stewart is NOT an MVP, or anywhere close. Yes, he was good. Yes, the Twins started winning because of him. Look at the numbers though. THEY PITCHED BETTER. Did Shannon Stewart somehow cause the Twins to start pitching better? Seriously, if he did, I want him on my team RIGHT NOW, because if Shannon Stewart has the amazing ability to make the Twins pitchers better, I'd love to know what he could do for any team. And why weren't the Blue Jays pitchers all doing well because of Stewart? And why didn't they do worse once he left? Where were his magical powers....I digress. That will be next time. A-Rod was the MVP because he, as the rules of the MVP state that the MVP is the man who contributed the most to his team in offense and defense, not anything else. You can twist the MVP to fit your own pre-determined agenda, but a true rules follower reads "contributed most to his team in offense and defense" - and A-Rod did that.

Further, Texas did not lose because of A-Rod. Texas lost because of this:

Salaries

Alex Rodriguez $ 22,000,000
Juan Gonzalez $ 13,000,000
Chan Ho Park $ 13,000,000
Carl Everett $ 9,150,000
Rafael Palmeiro $ 9,000,000
Ugueth Urbina $ 4,500,000
Jay Powell $ 3,250,000
Ismael Valdes $ 2,500,000
Todd Van Poppel $ 2,500,000
Einar Diaz $ 1,837,500
Esteban Yan $ 1,500,000
Herb Perry $ 1,300,000
John Thomson $ 1,300,000
Doug Glanville $ 1,000,000
Francisco Cordero $ 900,000
Todd Greene $ 750,000
Chad Kreuter $ 750,000
Mark Teixeira $ 750,000
Aaron Fultz $ 600,000
Ruben Sierra $ 600,000
Shane Spencer $ 600,000
C.J. Nitkowski $ 550,000
Mike Lamb $ 440,000
Mike Young $ 415,000
Kevin Mench $ 327,500
Hank Blalock $ 302,500
Mickey Callaway $ 302,500
Colby Lewis $ 302,500
Jermaine Clark $ 300,000
Reynaldo Garcia $ 300,000

13 million for Juan Gonzalez. 13 for Chan Ho Park. Look down the roster. All kinds of dumbness. 2.5 million for Todd Van Poppel.

The fact that they have Shane Spencer and Ruben Sierra FURTHER shows how sorry they are, because that's a fine RF and LF right there for 1.2 million dollars! Heck, Mike Lamb could DH, now you've got an infield, an LF, and RF and a DH for 27.5 million dollars, all you need is a CF, a C, and decent pitching!

For christ's sake, the Rangers problem was not A-Rod, the Rangers problem is EVERYTHING ELSE.

And no, A-Rod is not overpaid. In fact, if I was some other team during the bidding war for A-Rod, I would have offered him 30 million. He's worth it. Not just on the field, the man can market himself, he's media-savy (spelling?), he's smart, good-looking, I mean, he's everything you want. Sadly, the Rangers and MLB would rather focus on his 25 million dollar salary that actually, god forbid, market him. The NFL is willing to market a man who lied about his friend committing murder, and the NBA is willing to market drug-dealers, but MLB won't market people, and would rather actively SLAM, players who make money that the OWNERS offered them. Larry Luchino and Tom Hicks would rather slam A-Rod and make him look bad, Bud Selig would do the same, than market him and make the money you CAN off of him. He's worth $25 million just for his on the field activity. He's worth EVEN MORE because he can be marketed. You think Derek Jeter is marketable? A-Rod's just as attractive, media-savvy, everything Jeter is, and yet, people love Jeter and slam A-Rod. Sad, truly sad, because A-Rod is truly one of the greatest players around, and underpaid at $25 million dollars.


Rev. Robert Bobby Bobbington IV from Rodney, Alabama
Dean, War of Northern Agression Studies Department
Professor Emeritus of War of Northern Agression, Concentration in the History of the Battle of Vicksburg
Chairs: Diversity in the Stars and Bars; South Will Rise Again
Alcorn State University

First Post 

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