Wednesday, December 31, 2008
2. Viking Fans Suck.
3. BP interviews Jack Z. If you're cool enough to subscribe.
4. The Bucks really do (sort of) own the Spurs.
5. Who's gonna win it?
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
1. The Packers played the Cowboys before they acquired Roy Williams. They played the Cowboys before Tony Womo bwoke his pinky. Before they lost Felix Jones. Before Marion Barber got dinged up.
2. The Packers played Tampa Bay with a healthy Ernest Graham, before their defense imploded down the stretch (whether due to Kiffin moving on or not, they were pathetic in their last 4-5 games.)
3. The Packers played the Saints after the Saints had regained Marcus Colston AND found Lance Moore, and after they had replaced Reggie Bush with the Superior Pierre Thomas.
4. The Packers played the Texans after Matt Schaub recovered from his injury, and so missed the immortal Sage Rosenfels. They also had to face Steve Slaton as the every-down back instead of the Ahman Green platoon earlier in the year.
5. The Packers lost to Atlanta by 3 in a game where Mason Crosby missed a field goal. They lost to Tennessee in overtime. They lost to Minnesota by 1 in a game in which Mason Crosby missed a field goal. They lost to Chicago by 3 in a game in which Mason Crosby had 2 field goals blocked. Mason Crosby missed 7 FGs all season, and 4 of those 7 decided games.
6. Of the 10 Packer losses, 9 were to teams that finished .500 or better. The only truly bad loss was to Jacksonville.
7. The Packers had the misfortune of playing the incredibly deep Southern divisions, including Atlanta (Wild Card), Carolina (2 Seed, NFC), Tampa (Eliminated from playoffs on last day), New Orleans, Tennessee (#1 Seed, AFC), Indy (Wild Card), and Houston. The New York Jets, on the other hand, played the Western divisions including San Diego (Won division at 8-8), Arizona (won terrible division at 9-7, only outscored opponents by 1 point on the year), Oakland (terrible), Kansas City (terrible), St. Louis (Uber-terrible), Denver, San Francisco (terrible), and Seattle (terrible).
8. The Packers suffered tons of injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
9. The Packers had terrible fumble luck.
10. The entire loss to the Bears was one bit of bad luck after another.
11. From FO:
Green Bay ends up with 8.9 Pythagorean wins, which means the difference between their actual win-loss percentage and the Pythagorean projection is -.183. The Packers end up ranking as the ninth most "unlucky" team since the 1970 merger. As you might expect, eight of the other nine teams in the top ten improved the following year, most by three wins or more.
I would bet that even if the Packers regress a bit talent-wise next year that their record will still improve. Some of this has to regress to the mean. Mason Crosby’s misses will more frequently occur at low-leverage times. The schedule will probably be easier. They’ll catch more teams at good times. They probably won’t be stung by injuries as harshly.
So I’m optimistic going forward.
Finally, Michael Turner broke the dreaded 370 carry barrier in week 17. Fantasy players beware. That said, this guy makes a compelling case that there is no “curse of 370,” however, note that his criticism consists mainly of pointing out that getting 370 carries in the first place is an outlier, and that decline is simply regression to the mean. Good point, but it still means that a decline is likely, even if overuse is not the cause.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Aaron Rodgers: 28 TD|13 INT|4038 YDS|63.6%|34 SACKED|4 RTD|3 lost fumbles (10 total)
Brett Favre: 22 TD|22 INT|3472 YDS|65.7%|30 SACKED|1 RTD|3 lost fumbles (10 total)
Rodgers - 93.8 (6th in the league)
Favre - 81.0 (21st in the league)
Titans (Kerry Collins): 13-3 (best record in NFL)
Rodgers was 4th in total passing yards, 8th in attempts per game (33.5)
Favre was 11th in total passing yards, 10th in attempts per game (32.6)
Yards per pass: Rodgers - 7.5 Favre: 6.7
Rodgers was 6th in passing yards per game: 252.4
Favre was 15th in passing yards per game: 217
Passing plays of 20 yards or more: Rodgers - 48 (5th in league) Favre - 40 (12th in league)
Passing plays of 40+: Rodgers - 16 (tied 1st) Favre - 7 (13th)
Aaron Rodgers was sacked 7th most in the league, Favre 10th. (I was surprised to see Cassel at the top).
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
But, you say, Cabrera was good in 2006 and 2007! He has potential! His career value added? 0.1 wins. In three of his 4 seasons he has been worse than replacement level, only helping the Yankees in 2006, when he was worth 1.2 wins over replacement. The past two years he has been worth -0.6 over replacement level. Over his seven season, Cameron has averaged 3.8 wins over replacement, bouncing back from a lull in 07 to be very good in 2008.
Don't let anyone tell you that Cameron is bad or that employing him is like lighting $10 million on fire. In reality he was worth $18.3 million last year, and the only season he was worth less than $10 million was 2005 (when he was worth $7.2 million).
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
3729 yds, 25 TDs, 13 ints, and a rushing TD.
I discussed this with many people on the internets and in person, and most said they would be ecstatic if Rodgers could put up these kinds of numbers. Well, through 15 games Rodgers has put up this line:
3730 yards, 25 TD's, 13 ints, and 4 rushing TDs.
(Note: In the linked post at the old sports bar ESK jokingly (I think) predicted 5 rushing TDs, which is a distinct possibility).
Maybe the Pack will melt down against the Lions and Rodgers will throw 5 picks, but it looks quite likely that Rodgers will exceed this prediction by a substantial amount. (It really looks like the Outsiders were just off by a game, actually.)
The Outsiders had Greg Jennings as follows:
1044 yds, 9 TDs
In reality, through 15 games:
1191, 9 TDs
1033 yds, 8 TD.
901, 4 TDs
Well, nobody's perfect, and those TDs were spread around elsewhere.
Where the Outsiders were wrong was Ryan Grant and the offensive line in general, (although they liked Brandon Jackson), however, my main point here is to show that Aaron Rodgers has exceeded any reasonable expectation, and in my opinion, he has exceeded some of the highest expectations that were set for him.
"Yeah there's lots of reasons the Bears won but Orton really seemed to make plays when it was do or die."
Take a look at the last drives by both Orton and Rodgers, and you tell me where Orton "made plays" where Rodgers didn't.
On Rodgers' final drive the Packers got a good kick return from Will Blackmon aided by a mind-numbingly stupid penalty from Adrian Peterson. Rodgers then went 2/3 for 11 yards to get into solid field goal range, at which point the Packers chose to run three straight times. I have no problem with that strategy. Mason Crosby then had a 38 yard kick blocked.
On Orton's final drive he threw one nice pass to Greg Olsen which gained an extra 15 yards on a bullshit unnecessary roughness penalty. At this point, Matt Forte ran for 4 yards, -3 yards, caught a 14 yard pass (on a play where I would have been perfectly capable of throwing him the ball), ran for -1 yards, and 1 yard, at which point Robbie Gould kicked a 38 yard field goal (exactly the same distance as Mason Crosby's miss).
So yes, Orton was awesome at giving the ball to Matt Forte.
We should also point out that when it was not "do or die" Orton hit Charles Woodson and Nick Collins right between the numbers. Rodgers threw a pick too, sure, but it was a fluky tipped pass on a correct "hot route" read to Driver.
While it is literally true that Aaron Rodgers "failed to win another one," as Tony Kornheiser put it, lumping this one in with those losses where Rodgers threw last-drive interceptions is really unfair. Rodgers did everything he could, and everything that was asked of him in this game, and special teams let him down (over and over and over).
This was a fluky loss in general, as are most losses due to special teams play. From having two field goals blocked, to poor kick coverage, to Bush getting hit in the ass with a punt, this was about bad special teams and bad luck (and some high-leverage blown calls). If the Packers had not come into this game with such a bad record we would dismiss this as "just one of those games," which is what we should do anyway.
The fact is that Kyle Orton was terrible. He completed just over 50 percent of his passes, he threw two bad interceptions, and he only averaged 5.3 yards per pass. His rating was 48.7. Aaron Rodgers averaged 6.7 yards per pass, completed over 60% of his passes, had only one fluky pick, and in general, played pretty well. He also wasn't sacked despite constant pressure (he and Favre have both been sacked 30 times this year, for those who care about such things). Orton was sacked 3 times. He threw 2 TDs to Orton's 1. His rating was 87.6.
ESK's pithy response to this comment was perfect, so let's close with that:
Orton blocked that field goal attempt?
Monday, December 22, 2008
"Anyone who says that the Packers are better off with Rodgers this year is just being silly. The Packers lost 8 games over last year and the Jets gained like 5. That's not all Favre but it's some Favre."
Mark Belling is a moron about basically everything, and sports is no exception. Mark Belling graced my radio because it's Packer/Bear week and all other stations were also intolerable, and saying basically the same thing. This is just stupid.
Look, Brett may have been better had he stayed in Green Bay, but we'll never know. What we do know is:
1. Brett has been average in New York, and downright terrible down the stretch. In the last 4 weeks, Favre's average QB rating is 57.95, and he's thrown 6 picks and only 1 TD.
2. Favre has talented receivers in Lavranues Coles, Jericho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller.
3. Favre has a solid running attack to help him out. Thomas Jones is 5th in the league in rushing and has a very good 4.6 YPC average. Leon Washington averages 5.5 YPC, and is a dangerous receiver out of the backfield.
4. Favre has a good defense behind him, especially against the run (at least until lately).
In short, there are not many excuses for Favre's numbers, and Favre's numbers just aren't very good. Let's compare Favre/Rodgers/Pennington
Favre - 67% completions, 3239 yards, 21 TDs, 19 Picks, 6.7 Average, 84.0 QB Rating.
Rodgers - 63.5% Completions, 3470 Yards, 23 TDs, 12 Picks, 7.4 Average, 91.8 QB Rating. In one fewer game.
Pennington - 67% Completions, 3,453 Yards, 17 TDs, 7 Picks, 7.7 Average, 96.4 QB Rating
If Brett Favre wasn't Brett Favre, he would clearly be considered the worst of this group. Favre has once again been a turnover machine, but he's not had the efficiency or big play ability of either Rodgers or Pennington.
If you prefer advanced stats, they shake out like this:
1. Pennington - DYAR = 976, 8th overall, DVOA = 23%, 6th overall
2. Rodgers - DYAR = 818, 11th overall, DVOA = 16.3%, 11th overall
3. Favre - DYAR = 428, 19th overall, DVOA = 1.0%, 21st overall, just behind the 49ers Shaun Hill.
In short, there are no statistical measurements, other than Favre Whimsy Ratio (FWR), in which anyone can say that it is silly to claim that the Packers are better off with Rodgers, and FWR is a stat that I just made up right now. There is NO GOOD ARGUMENT that Favre is currently a better QB than Rodgers OR Chad Pennington.
The Jets added other players who addressed bigger needs (like Faneca and Jenkins) and the Packers problems have been chronicled on this site many times (here and here for instance). To the extent that Aaron Rodgers is a problem, (and he has been pretty rough late in games), he's a very, very minor problem. If anyone should be getting credit, it's Pennington. Who the hell is even on the Dolphins? Devon Besse and Greg Camarillo?
Anyway, I apologize for being a broken record, but this drives me nuts. I know people are unhinged about Favre and can't look at anything having to do with Favre in any rational way, but the fact is that we have a bunch of data this year, and that data tells us that Favre has been pretty bad on a winning team, while Rodgers has been pretty good on a losing team (which I would argue is more impressive than being good on a good team), and Pennington has been pretty good on a good team.
And again, I LIKE Favre. I really do. He is one of my all time favorite players. I own a Favre autographed football, a signed picture, and a rookie card. I've sometimes, in my weaker moments, contemplated creating a bifurcated Favre/Molitor Jersey.
But facts are facts.
Brett Favre isn't good in the cold.
I don't want to hear any comments about Brett's record under x degrees and other such nonsense. It's irrelevant. Brett USED to be good in the cold. Very very good. The fact is, however, that the older you are, the harder it gets to be cold.
Which is too bad, because the Pack could use a higher draft pick.
By the Way...
If Brett Favre's leadership voodoo is what turned the Jets around this year, just think how good the Dolphins would have been with Brett instead of Chad Pennington, as Chad Pennington apparently brings no leadership voodoo to the table. They might have gone 16-0.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Green Bay tackle Michael Montgomery has a stop rate of 43 percent on running plays, as his average run tackle comes after a 3.5-yard gain. No other defensive lineman with at least 25 run tackles has a stop rate of less than 50 percent.
Emphasis mine. So no other defensive lineman with any sort of playing time is even remotely close to being as bad at stopping the run as is Mr. Montgomery. Nice.
In a bad weather game this Monday look for Matt Forte to be huge.
And don't be at all surprised if Detroit gets its first win in week 17. The Lions can't play defense, but the way the Packers have been playing defense lately, Kevin Johnson and Megatron might be able to do enough damage to get the Lions over the hump. Plus they'll have all of that intel from Brett.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Nixon is an intriguing little signing. He was, in his younger days, a high OBP guy who could hit for some power, and he's been especially productive against righties. He basically didn't play in 2008, but if there's anything left in the tank, he's worth holding on to. PECOTA is actually a pretty big fan of Trot.
Here's his 2007 scouting report:
For a fan favorite in his walk year, Nixon had a rough go. Slowed by a groin strain, he still hit .311/.415/.455 in the first half--short in the power department, the result of less leg in his swing, but still a performance to be reckoned with. Things fell apart from there; Nixon missed all of August with a Grade 2 biceps strain and a scary staph infection. Upon returning, he hit just .147/.266/.250 in September, hardly an advertisement for his next contract. Whether he returns to Boston for a farewell tour or signs elsewhere, he won`t be critical to anyone`s plans given his injury history, but he can still be useful in a reduced role.
Chris Duffy is old for a prospect. He's a speedster who can play some center, but he's had confidence issues in the past, and while he has shown flashes, he's likely a 4th OF at best, and probably not even that.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Well, here on the interwebs our standards are a bit higher. I'm sure that the Packers 3rd down conversion rate is much lower after last week, but before last week the Packers were converting 44.4% of their third downs compared to only 37.8% for their opponents.
The fact is that until last week, Aaron Rodgers was a stud on third down.
They then went on to discuss how Rodgers needs to develop that "Mojo" and that "Magic" like a certain other quarterback. The round table on TMJ stated many times that "Rodgers wasn't the biggest problem" while talking about the 800 problems that he has apparently caused. Krause said that the Rodgers was "6th on his list of problems" and they all agreed that Rodgers is clearly no Favre, which you can tell just by looking at their records. He also stated that sometimes a QB just need to "be a leader and elevate his team."
That's our problem. Not enough Aaron Rodgers pep-talks to Johnny Jolly.
They also mentioned that the offense isn't as productive as last year's 13-3 squad. Fortunately, I can do basic math, and have access to the internet, where you can look up the fact that the Packers scored 435 points last year, and that through 13 games the Packers have scored 355 points this year. If you prorate that number for the rest of the season, you will discover that this Packer team is on pace to score 436 points this year, and is therefore a better offensive team.
While you're checking those PF numbers you may also note the PA numbers and note that all of last year the Pack gave up 291 points while this year they have already given up 319, and are on pace to give up 392, or over 100 more than all of last year.
But it's the offense's fault.
At this point I had to turn off my radio because listening to the show was robbing me of valuable IQ points and in another 15 minutes I would have lost the ability to drive or operate the radio.
Look, last week our commenters made a pretty good case that Rodgers has been bad "close and late," but he hasn't been as bad as that 0-6 indicates (the defense farted away Carolina and McCarthy farted away Minnesota), and on my list of problems with the Packers he does not appear. He is not a problem. He's pretty good.
And no one thinks he's better than the current Favre? Really? They discussed this as if the mere proposition is silly, and dismissed out of hand the notion that the Jets are better because of Alana Faneca and Kris Jenkins. (How's that Pennington guy doing?)
Look, I don't think it's a slam dunk that the current Rodgers is better than the current Favre, but he's put up better numbers (advanced and normal) with an inferior running game.
The lesson is, don't listen to the radio.
Anyway, we've got Packers-Jaguars in about 45 minutes. I know a bunch of people who like the Packers in this game, but I'm not seeing it. The Jags are bad at passing. The Packers can't stop the run. The not-very-good Fred Taylor is out, which means that the Jags will go with all MJD, all the time today. I expect him to have about 200 total yards and at least 2 scores. The Jags are bad, but this is a bad mathcup for the Pack.
Still, if we can pull this off and the Vikings go down our playoff odds will increase to like 10%.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Dear Brewed Sports Guys,
Why do you all of guys have such a hardon for Adam Dunn? Dude hits like .200 and he's slow. Plus he strikeouts alot. The Brewers already have a bunch of strikeout guys. Shouldn't we be targeting fast guys who can disrupt pitchers, steel a base or two, and do the little things? What does Tony Gwynn need to do to get a fair chance?
Fanklin in New Holstein
"Fanklin," I think you may have crafted your letter just to make ESK's head explode, but let's deal with Adam Dunn. First of all, Adam Dunn has hit 40 or more home runs in 6 consecutive seasons. Home runs are good. If you combine the number of home runs hit by Tony Gwynn Sr. and Tony Gwynn Jr., you get 135 home runs over a period of 23 years. (Of those 135 home runs, Tony Gwynn, Sr. has, uhm, 135 of them.) Adam Dunn has 135 HRs just on check-swings.
Adam Dunn also reaches base roughly 38% of the time. He is able to do so because if pitchers throw him bad pitches, he doesn't swing at them. If pitchers throw him good pitches, he hits the ball so hard that the force of the impact of the ball on high energy particles could destroy the world in a simulated "new big bang."
No, wait, that's actually the large hadron collider. But Adam Dunn and the large hadron collider get mixed up all the time.
Tony Gwynn Jr., on the other hand, is often confused with a rock tumbler. They both involve "grittiness." They both sometimes produce pretty results that aren't worth a damn thing. The biggest difference between the two is that nerds like rock tumblers, whereas stupid people who don't understand baseball like Tony Gwynn and his .300 OBP.
In all fairness Franky, I'm not sure if Adam Dunn is such a good idea anymore. When he does decline it will probably happen hard and fast, and he's about to leave his prime. Anyone who signs him is risking the dreaded "Travis Hafner" decline. But Adam Dunn, and the large hadron collider, are both risks worth taking.
So to answer your question in terms you can understand, Adam Dunn is good at baseball, and Tony Gwynn is good at having the last name "Gwynn."
Why no Badger hoops coverage? I saw that you have a Marquette guy, and that's cool and stuff, but where's the love for Bo?
Mumia A, Madison
That's a fair criticism Mumia. The short answer is that I haven't seen enough of Bucky to provide cogent analysis. When football is over you can expect both our Badger and Golden Eagle coverage to increase, but really, at this point everyone is still getting a feel for everything.
I will say that the Badgers may have a tougher time putting up the kind of dominant Big 10 season that we've come to expect from Bo's crew. For starters, they seem to be relying more on the 3-point shot this year, which will give them a higher variance, but aside from that it also looks like the Big 10 is better than usual. Michigan and Purdue seem to be vastly improved, and when Michigan State gets healthy look out. If not for Tom Crean's terrible Indiana team and an absolutely loaded Big East, you could make the case that the Big Ten is actually the strongest conference in Basketball. Heck they almost won the challenge this year!
That said, we'll try to stay on top of Marcus Landry and crew. If you have any other comments, feel free Mumia.
(That's just a little of the subliminal, radical political commentary we hide in every Brewed Sports post!)
Dear Mr. Noonan,
What do you think of Bill Simmons and his current spat with ESPN? Do you think his act is played out? Where would he go if they fired him?
Bill S., Los Angeles
Is Bill Simmons played out? Bill Simmons has been played out for like however many years the internet has existed. How many fucking Rocky columns can you write? Look, I like Rocky just fine, but come on, it's not that good.
Bill Simmons has experienced a phenomenon that happens to everyone as they get older. It hits some people more slowly, but it gets everyone eventually. And that phenomenon is as follows. Are you 25 years old or younger? Well let me tell you something. What you like sucks.
Now I'm smarter than the average bear, so I know that what you like doesn't really suck. And that you probably don't know who Yogi Bear is. No, Bear. Not Berra, I know you know who Yogi Berra is, but there's this cartoon bear that...you know what, never mind. Anyway, I'm sure you will produce some timeless music and classic movies, but at some point you lose the ability to detect these things. I mean, Justin fucking TImberlake is basically Michael Jackson now, isn't he? (Not the pedophile part, the world's biggest pop-star part.) He's had staying power, he's super famous, he has a ton of hits. Someone like me cannot process this fact in his brain, but it's true.
Anyway, Bill has tried to keep up, and I applaud his effort, but it's getting kinda sad. Dude's like 40 and still watching the real world. I didn't even know that The Real World was still on. I guess they have those Real World v. Road Rules type shows too. No 40-year-old man should ever watch MTV for any reason. Bill tries to keep up with the Zeitgeist, but he's really pushing creepy. The first time he drops a twilight reference it's all over.
But while most Simmons' columns are pretty painful these days, he can still be useful. He interviewed David Stern this week and asked him some genuinely hard questions. Bill's forte was always taking the fans' perspective to the national level, and he hit Stern with Donaghy, the Artest Brawl, the massive salary dump by multiple NBA teams to lure LeBron in TWO years, and his longevity. It was a solid interview, and Simmons would do well to schedule more chats like that.
Bill, however, is losing this edge too. Most Simmons' fans suspected that LA would destroy the Sports Guy perspective, and it basically has. Aside from bordering on creppy-old-man-ness, he's also started talking like a poor man's version of entourage. Borrrring.
As for the feud, I suspect he's gone as soon as his contract is up, but that's a mistake by both parties. If ESPN were on the ball, they would give him complete editorial immunity. I know they don't want an ESPN employee ripping their own announcers, and I understand that to some extent, but ESPN needs to realize that people actually like bad announcers because they're fun to pick apart. I'm glad that Joe Theisman is gone, but damn it if I didn't talk about the idiot for a good half-hour every Monday.
This answer is now bordering on Simmons length, so I should probably put a stop to it. One last thing.
Bill. Enough with the Milwaukee fat jokes. They're not that funny, and we're not that fat.
How can you still defend Aaron "Blodgers." Favre is 8-5 and Aaron "Blodgers" is 5-8. Winning is the goal, isn't it? You're just a bunch of Thompson-fellating Favre haters. Now if you'll excuse me I have to call Jack Del Rio.
Bert Farve, Kiln New Jersey
We've dealt with this, but I'm more curious as to what you were going for with "Blodgers." Were you trying for Blow-gers but couldn't find the hyphen key? Are you a big Harry Potter fan comparing Aaron to the injury-minded Quidditch balls?
Have a good chat with Jack. Maybe you can join he and Matt Millen in the woods for some chopping.
Please come up with a better overtime for soccer.
David B, Los Angeles
I'm glad to see that we have so much of a presence on the West coast. Let's see...soccer...well, almost any overtime would be better than penalty kicks. The problem with soccer is that playing simple sudden death could result in some games that are as long as cricket matches. And while Hockey can have a decent shoot-out, there's not really a 1-on-1 equivalent in soccer.
How about this. Each team picks like 5 players, like a shoot-out, and then instead of a shootout, they play HORSE. So the first guy takes a shot from somewhere with the opposing goaltender in goal, and if he makes it, the first player on the other team has to replicate the shot against his opponent's goaltender. You wouldn't necessarily have to go all the way to HORSE. Maybe just PIG. Although they would have to come up with some stupid soccer name for it, like when they changed Sudden Death to The Golden Goal. They could call this "tie" or "dive" or "gentlemanly one-upsmanship". Something lame like that.
OK, one more:
Noonans and that K guy and Benjamin, and that guy on the sidebar who never posts,
I'm in my fantasy football super bowl this weekend, and I have to choose between LeRon McClain, Dominek Hixon, and Bobby Engram. McClain plays the Steelers, and Hixon is hurt. What should I do?
Rod B, Springfield, IL
Look man, if you've gotten this far without asking me, what makes you think I can help you now? Chances are you haven't been relying on this position much anyway. And besides, most fantasy advice is bad anyway, especially on the radio. I heard some personality today recommend Ladanian Tomlinson over Dominic Rhodes. Now Tomlinson has a pretty good matchup with the Chiefs, but Dominic Rhodes is almost certainly starting, and getting most of the carries against the Detroit Lions. Also, Tomlinson isn't good any more. And while you may be worried about Addai stealing carries from Rhodes, you should be just as worried about Sproles in SD.
The Colts are going to beat the Lions and Rhodes is going to grind out the end of the game. Will SD blow out KC? Maybe, but that's a dicier play.
In answer to your actual question, start Hixon if he's healthy, but keep in mind that McClain was actually OK against Pit last time they played. None of these options are good, so don't overthink it and don't second guess.
Until next time, stop stalking me, all of you.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Good God. Melly Cabrera has terrible numbers for a catcher, much less an outfielder. This move would be absolutely terrible for the Brewers, even considering that the Yankees would benevolently throw in a pitching prospect, though supposedly not one as "promising" as Ian Kennedy.
Apparently the only road block was Melvin's hopes that Cameron would trump union demands and keep Sabathia in Milwaukee. Since that didn't happen, Melvin is free to slash some payroll.
Supposedly this deal could happen as soon as today.
UPDATE: More New York papers are reporting it as a done deal. Brewers 09 season: date of death 12/11/2008.
"One of the challenges I have is buying into a falling market. When you buy into a rising market, you can't move fast enough. The challenge here is that, look, any investment you made in 2008 on Wall Street, 12 months ago, 12 weeks ago, 12 days ago, even 12 hours ago, you are down. We have to be careful with what is going on here."If he is anything like me (on an exponentially grander scale) Attanassio has gotten a bit of a rude awakening over the last twelve months and will hesitate to spend money on just about anything, it's human nature. Sadly, it seems this is carrying over to his baseball club:
Attanasio knows that Melvin has proven adept in previous seasons at signing players late in the winter. "We think we will see some bargains at the last minute," Attanasio said. "We'll keep our powder dry a little bit."I'm not seeing many bargains. While contracts on the whole have not increased at a rate commensurate to previous years, there aren't a lot of cheap players on the market that can help this team. I think Randy Johnson will be forced to lower his expectations a bit, but giving $10 million to an ancient (and still effective) pitcher for 2-3 years is by no means a "bargain."
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The decision to line up Charles Woodson at safety makes no sense. It's not that Woodson can't play safety, it's that the Packers couldn't compensate for his absence at cornerback. Williams started at cornerback and was frequently left alone in man coverage, and he couldn't handle it.
On the Texans' third offensive play, wide receiver Kevin Walter ran deep down the left sideline, and Schaub underthrew him. The problem for the Packers is that Walter had already blown past Williams before Schaub had released the ball, meaning Williams had his back turned, trying to chase Walter, and didn't know the ball had been underthrown. That allowed Walter to come back to it and grab it at the 30-yard line. Packers safety Nick Collins came over to try to help but ended up colliding with Williams, giving Walter an easy stroll to the end zone.
My question, and a question I will pose after each notable transaction is this:
How many games does THIS team win. (Base it on who is on the roster now, today).
I have 74.
After three straight days of face-to-face meetings between GM Brian
Cashman and Sabathia, the big lefty decided he wants to spend the next
six years of his career as a Yankee. The decision came late last night
after Cashman flew to see Sabathia at his home in San Francisco. By the
time the meeting was concluded, Sabathia had informed the Yankees that he had made his decision to call New York his baseball home, the Post has learned. New York Yankees
There are still minor hurdles to finalize, notably that Sabathia
must pass a physical. But after so much belief that Sabathia was
stalling because he wanted to avoid New York, he agreed to the largest
pitching contract in major league history, at least $140 million.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Football teams have "Cascading Personnel Disasters" just like players have cascade injuries. A few of you even identified one of these in the comments to the Overhaul post. It is very likely that the linebackers have taken a step back because of the defensive line. Fix the defensive line, and you also fix your linebackers.
It's important to keep this in mind. The front 7 isn't a 7-player problem. With a healthy Cullen Jenkins it's probably a 1 or at most a 2 player problem.
Offense is in a similar bind, especially now that Tauscher is quite possibly done as a Packer. The offensive line really could use an overhaul, but there are two problems with this:
1. Offensive line continuity is very important.
2. The Packer blocking strategy is very complicated.
That said, now is clearly the time to do it. One good thing about offensive lines is that apart from left tackle, talent tends to be fairly deep in the draft.
As for the skill positions, I think they're in pretty good shape. Greg Jennings is one of the 5 best receivers in football, and Donald Driver is still productive. Jordy Nelson looks like he'll be OK. And running backs are highly fungible, and not worth worrying about.
A few tweaks here and a few tweaks there, plus a regression to the mean in fumble recovery rate, and you're probably back in the playoffs.
There are bigger issues at work. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy made some awful and preventable decisions, and the pattern seems to be "their guys" at the expense of good guys. Here is what stands out to me.
1. Justin Harrell. Almost literally the elephant in the room, much interior defensive line was cast aside in favor of this bust of busts. Like Cleditus Hunt without the talent, Harrell has acquired a reputation as lazy and injury prone. The poor packer run defense starts here. The Harrell pick was ripped by almost every talking head at the time, and all proved to be correct.
(Players taken after Harrell in the draft, by the way, include Aaron Ross,Dwayne Bowe, Jon Beason, Greg Olsen, Anthony Gonzalez, Eric Weddle, and Lamarr Woodley.)
Picking Harrell was bad enough, but sticking with him made it much worse.
2. The Lack of Running Back By Committee
Remember Noah Herron? And DeSean Wynn? These guys used to get a few carries now and then. Ryan Grant played great last year, and he earned his increased role, but Brandon Jackson and that rookie who got hurt should have started seeing the field more when Grant struggled. And having Noah around to pick up a blitz now and then would have been nice.
But once again, the problem was bigger than that. The Packers gave Ryan Grant a pretty big (though not disastrous) new contract. This goes against everything that the zone blocking scheme, and Ted Thompson, have done in the past. Running Backs simply aren't valuable. Look at zone blocking exhibit A out in Denver. Peyton Hillis was tearing it up until he screwed up his hamstring this week. He was, by my count, their 7th RB. And by all accounts the Packers best RB spends most of his time on the Pine so that Ryan Grant can try to live up to his contract.
More options may have put Grant on the pine earlier. Stubbornness, again, reared its ugly head.
3. The fucking punter.
God I hate the punter. Ron Wolfe's biggest regret was losing Craig Hentrich, and this should have been a warning to all future GMs. Punting is important. It has definitely cost this team at least 1 game this year. And it is all on the GM.
4. Woodson to safety.
Don't move your best cover corner to safety if you play man-to-man. Just don't. It's really stupid.
5. Penalties, Penalties, Penalties.
This leads us to one obvious conclusion. This GM and coach cannot be trusted to execute a complete overhaul. The more decisions they make, the worse it will be. This team is not far away in spite of their recent pathetic nature, but they need an intelligent front office to make it happen. Let's not burn it down when the arsonists will be responsible for rebuilding.
Hope Springs Eternal
According to the Outsiders, the Packers still have a 3.3% chance of making the playoffs. The Colorado Rockies once overcame taller odds than that and made the World Series, so stranger things literally have happened.
(Remember, that sequence of events required a Tony Gwynn, Jr. triple! What are the odds of that alone?)
Locker Room Presence
In the future, whenever anyone talks about someone's presence in the locker room I'm just going to assume they mean this.
But hey, weak ground outs are pretty cool too, right?
This is downright depressing, but not as depressing as 90 losses will be if this and Todd Coffey are the biggest splashes the moustache is planning on making.
We kept the wrong suit.
Monday, December 8, 2008
549 yards is a God damned indictment of everything and everyone involved with the defense. AJ Hawk is inches from bust. Tramon Williams is inconsistent, Brady Poppinga is a terrible player (anyone who gets burned that badly by Vonte Fucking Leach should probably just open a vein) and Desmond Bishop is a joke. Who plays on the opposite end from Kampman? Exactly. Do the Packers currently have interior defensive linemen?
Leach was wide open in the right flat when Brady Poppinga read run and
let him go. Said Poppinga, "Just one of those plays you get caught up
on the run."
I wish you'd get caught up by a bus.
Bob Sanders is not the answer to any question other than "Name a shitty defensive coordinator."
That was God damned embarrassing. Unless Brett Favre all of a sudden turned into Lawrence Taylor during his stint in New York this team is no better with him on the field. I don't want to hear it.
Ryan Grant sucks. Tony Moll sucks. Daryn Colledge sucks.
Penalties start at the top. This team is not good enough to give up 80 penalty yards per game. This is Mike McCarthy's problem. Mike McCarthy, to put it eloquently, also sucks. Too many deep routes the first three quarters, too much conservative play in the last six minutes. This pattern holds true for every game. Six minutes left? McCarthy puckers up like Ned Beatty when he hears Dueling Banjos. Wasting a time out on that two point conversion. Really shit head? Really?
Ted Thompson needs to make changes. From the coaching staff to kick coverage, this team needs an overhaul, because that shit yesterday was pathetic.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
"I really think it's leadership, I think they really miss Brett Favre out there."
At the beginning of the season this may have been a reasonable assertion (I guess), but right now it's really stupid. The Packers have a lot of problems, but Aaron Rodgers isn't one of them, and Brett Favre has no effect his own defense. None.
Aaron Rodgers has a higher passer rating than Brett Favre, more yards, more yards per attempt, an equal number of touchdowns, and fewer interceptions. We got a better QB, and a draft pick.
How can you answer that question by picking QB? How about Cullen Jenkins? Bigby and Rouse? Nick Barnett (both for underperforming and getting hurt)? A.J. Hawk for underperforming?
This commentator also claimed that the Packers have rushed the ball well this year. Ryan Grant averages 4 yards per carry. He only has 4 runs of over 20 yards all year, with 3 fumbles. If you rank players by YPC, you will find the following players ahead of Ryan:
Matt Forte, Kevin Smith, Ray Rice, Mewelde Moore, Ricky Williams, Kenny Watson, Michael Pittman, Brandon Jackson, Ernest Graham, Julius Jones, Garrett Wolfe, Darren McFadden, Larry Johnson, Peyton Hillis, Maurice Morris, Jacob Hester, Kevin Faulk, J.J. Arrington, and the bad Adrian Peterson.
The fact is that Ryan Grant has had a bad year. In 30 seconds an on-air ESPN employee blamed the Packer woes on one of their strongest positions while praising one of their weakest, and not mentioning their actual defensive problems.
My day is already ruined, they could at least provide some actual analysis.
I'm not sure if the cold helps the Pack or hurts the Pack, but typically teams from warm climates or domes play poorly in cold weather, so it will probably, at the very least, slow down the Texans a bit.
Minnesota plays Detroit, and if the Packers fall today all hope will basically be gone.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The teams match up well against each other with Wisconsin having an advantage in the frontcourt and Marquette generally having an advantage in the backcourt. The two teams are comparable in terms of offensive and defensive efficiency. Marquette has the better raw offensive efficiency at 116 pts/100 poss., but when strength of schedule is factored in Wisconsin has the better efficiency at 115 pts. to Marquette's 110. Both teams allow their opponents 95 pts./100 poss.
The biggest difference between the two teams is the pace at which they play. This should come as no surprise as this is the general MO for both of these teams for all of recent memory. Wisconsin is one of the slowest paced teams in the country averaging 61 poss/game, while Marquette is one of the fastest at 76 poss/game.
Two of Wisconsin's strengths this season have been its defensive rebounding and its outside shooting. Wisconsin is shooing 43% from behind the arc as a team. Therefore, Wisconsin's early success has been on a strategy of limiting the number of possessions, while maximizing their offensive opportunities by making many of their 3's while limiting opponents' second chances on the defensive end. Wisconsin's biggest weakness this season has been their 3 point defense, where they are allowing opponents to make baskets at nearly the same rate.
Marquette, on the other hand, has succeeded this season at getting to the free throw line and at grabbing offensive rebounds. Marquette has been at its best when its guards drive to the basket, which opens up passing lanes and often results in getting fouled. Marquette's biggest weakness has been its shooting in general, but more specifically its 3-point shooting. This may also contribute to Marquette's higher offensive rebound rate.
Therefore, in the game tonight, the biggest thing to look for is which team controls the pace of the game. When Marquette is able to run, they will have the advantage, while when Wisconsin can slow the game down, they will control the game. The teams' weaknesses (3-point defense, 3-point shooting) should generally cancel out. At Marquette's end of the court, we will need to watch who is winning the battle for the boards. Is Wisconsin getting lots of defensive rebounds, limiting Marquette's scoring opportunities? or is Marquette getting the offense boards, and the second chances to make up for their generally lower shooting percentage?
It should make for a very good game, for those of you who have ESPNU, as the game was bumped down to show more of the college football games on tonight.
1. NY - 146
2. TB - 80
3. PHI - 70
4. ATL - 56
5. CAR - 54
6. GB - 39
6. DAL - 39
2. Teams with worse differentials but better records than the Pack include New Orleans, Minnesota, Chicago, and Washington.
3. It's easy to blame differentials like this on poor coaching, but luck has at least something to do with it. Opponents have lost only 3 fumbles to the Packers all year. (Of course, they've been extremely lucky with pick-6s, so maybe it balances out.)
4. If the Packers lose tomorrow, you can bet that Steve Slaton will have a lot to do with it. The diminutive running back is coming off of a 182 yard, 2 TD performance. On the season he has scored 9 TDs, only 1 fumble, and could go over 1000 yards rushing on Sunday despite platooning for the first several games this year.
5. It is dumb to move your best cover corner to strong safety:
The Packers have moved Charles Woodson, one of the best cornerbacks in the league over the last year and a half, to strong safety in order to cover for injuries to Aaron Rouse and Atari Bigby -- even though cornerback is more important than safety on a team that plays primarily man coverage. Wouldn't it make sense to move Tramon Williams (8.5 yards allowed per pass and 53 percent Success Rate according to our game charting) to safety and let Woodson (4.3 yards allowed per pass and 68 percent Success Rate) continue to cover receivers one-on-one?
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Greg Jennings, Ruvell Martin and James Jones were at the game last night sitting court side with their bodyguards (or perhaps drug dealers). At a time-out, Bango dunked over Greg Jennings. That guy is an awesome athlete. Jennings should introduce him to Ted Thompson.
As a side note, in a brilliant display of marketing genius, you can now go to a Bucks game on a Friday night and get an upper level seat and all-you-can-eat hotdogs, soda, popcorn and nachos for $30. Ewww.
Besides the sad loss of the King of the Three True Outcomes to Jack Z and the Mariners, there's not much news on the Brewers' free agents and acquisitions. If I'm reading the CC Sabathia news correctly, the only offers on the table are the Brewers' 100 Million over 5 years and the Yankees' 140 Million of 6 years. Tony Reagins says the Angels are not focusing on Sabathia. I'm still not super optimistic about it, but it does seem like the Brewers' odds of signing him are getting better. Although CC's wife wants him to pitch for the Giants. That scares me a bit. I wonder how that would affect the Giants' new ticket pricing scheme?
The club is trying something new with ticket sales in a few tough-to-sell upper-deck outfield sections of its waterfront ballpark for 2009: cost based on demand. The walk-up sales price for up to about 2,000 seats could even go up or down on game day. The change would be minimal, say somewhere between 25 cents and $2. Team president Larry Baer calls it "dynamic pricing" and figures it might just become the way of the future for professional sports franchises. The Giants have partnered with a software company that will make it possible to quickly change the ticket prices based on the popularity of a given game -- not to mention weather, a possible milestone or a player from a visiting team who brings extra interest.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
What does not work well is trying to pound a RB through the middle of a line (especially if that line excels at run-stuffing), by simply powering forward.
My problem with the play calling on the Packer's penultimate drive, which resulted in a field goal when they needed a touchdown, is not that they ran. The problem is HOW they ran.
Brandon Jackson had a great game (he's been better than Ryan Grant for a long time now) and he was instrumental in their rally today. Jackson is an excellent zone-block runner. He has good vision, he sees the lanes, and he has the speed to break long gains where available. On the goal line, what you want to do with Jackson is the same thing you want to do at the 50 yard line; isolate your blockers, see who can create a lane, and let Jackson find it.
Just because you're 2 inches away does not mean that you should stray from your fundamentals. In today's game, Jackson had carries o 24, -2 (also in a bunch formation), 2, 32, 3, 5, 1, 4, 5, 6, and 0 yards. That 0, and the subsequent run by Kuhn, were both from Power formations.
I've never understood this formation, as the field does not get any narrower as you get closer to the goal line, and the bunched formation takes all of that lateral space out of the equation. This only helps the defense.
Anyway, that series of play-calling was atrocious.
2. What was also atrocious was the run defense. Justin Harrell is supposed to be a run stuffer. Did he play today? I honestly don't know.
Injuries aren't helping, but the offense certainly played well enough to win today, however, at no point did I expect any Carolina RB to gain fewer than 5 yards.
Playoffs?! What are you talking about Playoffs? Playoffs? I mean...
It's really tough now, but still not impossible. Running the table against Texas, Jacksonville, Chicago, and Detroit is completely possible, and assuming that the Vikings win tonight, it's easy to imagine them losing to Atlanta, Arizona, and New York down the stretch. That said, everything will have to go right for the Pack. It's probably over, but maybe they can still make it interesting.
Derrick Frost nets only 36.1. By the way, those two guys I mentioned who are way better than Derrick Frost rank only 15th and 19th respectively. They're not even good. Mike Scifres of San Diego averages 42.7.
Derrick Frost has punted 48 times for a net yardage gain of 1732.8 yards. Had Mike Scifres taken those punts, he would have accounted for 2049.6 yards. That's over 300 yards of field position. Jon Ryan, an average punter if ever there was one, would have added an extra 86.4 yards for the Pack.
The Green Bay Packers average 5.3 yards per play. This means that having Derrick Frost instead of Jon Ryan has necessitated that the Packer offense run an extra 16 plays. Those 16 plays were required just to get the Packers to the spot they would have been at had Jon Ryan, and not Derrick Frost, been punting. Had the Packers been fortunate enough to employ Mike Scifres, they would have required 60 fewer plays to gain the same field position.
Those plays gain you nothing except what your special teams has cost you, but while they gain you nothing, they provide ample opportunity for turnovers, penalties, and injuries.
Every minute that Derrick Frost remains the punter is a mistake.
UPDATE: They Released him.
Friday, November 28, 2008
1. Overreaction to the Ravens game.
I try hard not to let one game effect my judgement, however the Ravens game was to some extent "the straw that broke the camel's back" for me. I can survive low point games from my QB, but the negative disaster was pretty rough on my psyche. And Reid pulled the guy! He was probably on a short leash against the Cardinals. Sure he threw 4 TDs, but what if he would have thrown two early picks again?
That said, I should have looked at the Cardinals more closely, as passing games have torn them up.
2. The Trent Edwards Matchup.
My backup QB is Trent Edwards. Not a bad player, really. Anyway, while McNabb faced a bad Cardinal secondary (which was made slightly better by the addition of a healthy Adrian Wilson), Edwards faces an even worse San Francisco secondary. Here though I may also be facing some "what have you done for me lately" bias, as Edwards was great last week. Moreover, if you look at Edwards stats he has clearly been vastly inferior to McNabb, even against bad teams. It is looking more and more like an emotional, and not a rational decision.
3. Brian Westbrook's injuries.
I've had Brian Westbrook many times and know to play him even when he is questionable. So why not this time? Arizona is a respectable 8th against the run (another reason to play McNabb, you idiot), and Westbrook has been pretty bad of late. He had not rushed for over 61 yards since week 8 when he blew up for 167 agaisnt the Falcons. He also had not scored a TD since week 8. In past seasons Westbrook's pass-catching ability has put him above almost every other back in the league, but this season he has not had a receiving TD since week 2, and he hasn't gone over 42 yards receiving since week 5. Add in the fact that he would be working this week on short rest on an injured ankle, and he looks fairly unnattractive. And to some extent, his two receiving TDs yesterday were pretty flukey.
4. Better Alternatives?
Here though, we must consider our alternatives. We have (maybe) Steven Jackson, who has missed (basically) 5 weeks with a quad injury. He's reportedly healthy, but he might not be. And even so, he's on a bad Rams team that plays a decent Miami run defense. We also have RBBC members Le'Ron McClain, whom might be alright against a pretty bad Cinci run defense, or Derrick Ward against a lackluster Washington run defense (but Jacobs is probably back) or Pierre Thomas against a stout Tampa defense.
None of those look terribly attractive, except maybe McClain.
Anyway, my ultimate problem was that I failed to perform the following exercise. Imagine that you are forced to bet your life on who will score more fantasy points. McNabb v. Edwards, and Westbrook v. Jackson, etc.
I would almost certainly have taken McNabb and Westbrook. But I didn't. Which means I was not acting rationally this week. I was flustered by the Thursday games, and by recent events.
Oh well, live and learn.
McNabb is a very frustrating fantasy player.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
(In all honesty, he did average 10.4 strike-outs per nine innings in the minors with a 1.58 ERA).
The Saints have quietly put together a historically good offense, and in particular, an amazing passing game. Many thought that an early injury to Marques Colston would derail the Saints, but the discovery of Lance Moore, a couple of OK tight ends, and Reggie Bush have combined to make this a truly deadly attack. Moreover, it makes the Saints capable of exploiting a major Packer weakness.
Ever since Cullen Jenkins went down with a torn pec the Packers have struggled to generate a pass rush. They choose to keep Aaron Kampman on the strong side (I believe because seeing him coming at you is almost as disruptive as not seeing him coming at you), which makes him easier to deal with for calm QBs. To generate a pass rush, the Packers are often forced to blitz. On Lance Moore's first touchdown Charles Woodson came on a blitz and failed to get there leaving Moore in single coverage with Atari Bigby. Bigby had no chance.
Both Bigby and Aaron Rouse are rather slow, and better in run support than pass coverage. Once the Saints noticed this they exploited it again and again, using their WR depth to create impossible matchups. Compounding problems was A.J. Hawk's shocking lack of speed. Hawk is also suffering from injuries which have really hurt his pursuit. On Monday, he frequently failed to get a deep enough drop in pass coverage which led to one easy touchdown early, and a huge gap between LB and safety that was exploited by Shockey and Billy Miller.
Miller also abused Aaron Kampman up front, often releasing downfield into a wide open area, and taking advantage of Kampman's overaggressive behavior.
The complete inability to stop the run compounded all of these problems, as the Pack could not spare any of their front 7 for an extra DB without being gouged for 7 yards a clip.
This was, in short, a complete defensive breakdown precipitated by injuries, and superior Saints personnel.
On offense the Packers were fine until two things happened.
1. Greg Jennings fell down at the same time that Aaron Rodgers made a poor throw, allowing one of the league's worst DBs to pick an errant pass and put the Saints up by 3 scores.
2. They abandoned the run.
Once the Packers were backed into a corner and went exclusively to the pass it all spiraled out of control. This was compounded by the knowledge that the defense was completely unable to stop the Saints offense in any way. I don't know or care if any rubes are claiming that Favre would have won this game. Maybe he would have. But this seems to me like one of those games where Favre would have thrown 6 picks, forced to keep up with a scoring machine on the other side. "Rams Game" springs immediately to mind.
I'm not sure that there is much to be learned from this game. The Packers are certainly backed into a corner and have to be considered huge underdogs to make the playoffs. The advantage they have is another game against the Bears with the possibility (with a season sweep) of gaining two games on them by beating them once. The Vikings still face the Bears, Cardinals, Falcons, and Giants down the stretch and should lose a few of those. The Pack has a tough game coming up against Carolina, but then faces a struggling Texans team and a struggling Jaguars team before finishing up with the Bears and Lions. The Bears have a similar schedule except they still have to face this New Orleans team.
Conventional wisdom is that it will take 10 wins to take the North, but I can see 8 getting it done. I wouldn't count on it, but it's possible. At any rate, while we have little margin for error, we're not dead yet.
1. Frost is just terrible. If we miss the playoffs by one game it will be because of our punter. That is infuriating.
2. Why did we lock up Brady Poppinga through 2012? Does Thompson foresee a scarcity of mediocre linebackers on the market in the near future?
3. I believe the Packers made an early strategic decision to have Mason Crosby keep the ball in play on his kickoffs, which cost them at the end of the first half when poor coverage cost the team a field goal. After that, Mason boomed them through the end zone.
4. A lot of players were slipping on the turf. How can an indoor stadium with fake grass suffer from bad field conditions?
5. Aaron Rodgers missed easy touchdowns to Greg Jennings at lest twice early in the game by underthrowing the ball.
6. For all of the bad Packer play, that Lance Moore pass has to be one of the stupidest calls ever, and momentarily kept the Packers in the game.
7. Mark Tauscher's loss hurt more than people realized.
8. Can I really start Donovan McNabb again after last week? The Cardinals are bad against the pass.
9. Who do we cheer for next week, the Bears or the Vikings? I say the Bears.
Two New York City Council members say that Citigroup should show its thanks for a federal bailout by sharing the naming rights to the new Mets ballpark in Queens.
The struggling bank is slated to pay $400 million over the next 20 years to name the stadium Citi Field.
The bank made the commitment years ago, when it was flush with cash. Now that Citigroup is getting billions of dollars in federal aid, Staten Island Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo say the ballpark's name should be changed to Citi/Taxpayer Field.
Citigroup and Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon have been saying that they have no plan to alter the naming-rights deal for the ballpark, which hosts its regular-season opener April 13.
Wilpon and Citigroup spokesman Steve Silverman said they had no comment on the proposal.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
1. A Minnesota team record two safeties against a Wisconsin team, and the following week, a Wisconsin team record two safeties against a Minnesota team.
2. A tie. In which one QB admitted to not knowing that ties happen in the NFL.
3. The first 11-10 final score in NFL history on an improperly disallowed defensive score on the last play of the game.
4. The Wisconsin Badgers winning a game in overtime against a division 2 team, after trailing all day, because the division two team missed 3 PATs, including one in overtime.
I happen to know for a fact that I can hit 70% of my PATs even after downing 6 shots of tequila. At least I used to be able to.
5. A fair catch kick! And an ugly one at that.
Non-fun fact: The last successful fair catch kick in the NFL was by Mac Percival in 1968, scoring the game-winning field goal for the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers.
Tom Brady_______Matt Cassel
Instead of Le'Ron McClain (12 points in my league) I started Jerious Norwood (0, while teammate Michael Turner took it in 4 times).
Instead of Trent Edwards (34 points) I started McNabb (and I get Kolb's stats too! For a grand total of -8). So my QB decision cost me 42 points. Awesome.
Instead of Steve Gostkowski (14) I started Matt Prater (4). My WRs combined for 5. I will be lucky to break 20 points this week. I'm not happy.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Bucks couldn't hold a big third quarter lead against Utah last night and fell to the Jazz 105 to 94. The Bucks fell back by 10 in the first quarter, but rallied big in the second to take a 2 point lead at the half. They held the lead going into the final quarter, but Utah pulled away. Jefferson had 25 points, while Bogut added 16 points and 20 rebounds. Mbah a Moute went down hard in the 2nd quarter, which looked like bad news for an already shorthanded team, but he returned to start the second half and finished the game with 8 points and 7 rebounds. The Bucks are 5 and 8 on the season. A few points:
- The Schedule. The schedule seems ridiculous. The Bucks played their fourth consecutive back-to-back set of games, with 5 of those 8 games on the road. They have back-to-back games at New York and against Chicago this weekend.
- Richard Jefferson. Jefferson spoke about being disappointed in his performance after the Bucks' loss to Denver, and came up big last night with 23 points in the first 28 minutes and lead the Bucks' second quarter come-back.
- Andrew Bogut. Bogut played strong against Boozer and is starting to look like an offensive and rebounding stud. Most of the time.
- Home Court advantage. I was in Salt Lake City last year for work and was walking around the city just as a Jazz game was letting out. I don't know numbers or anything, but it had to have been a sell-out and something like 90% of the fans were wearing Jazz gear. I guess it's the only show in town and they have a strong tradition of winning, but I'd love to see that kind of support in Milwaukee. Besides all the crazy drinking laws, Salt Lake City is a cool town.
The C.C. Sabathia Sweepstakes. A poster at BCB put together this spreadsheet comparing the Brewers' alleged $100 Million/5 years offer to the Yankee's alleged $140 Million/6 years. Another poster also compared the offers. Basically, between taxes and cost of living, depending on how much money Sabathia wants to spend in his new community, the offers are pretty similar. The tax difference in New York could take an additional 10-15% bite out of his contract. If that number is around 13%, the offers are about the same on an annualized basis. It's also important to consider the next contract. Although getting locked in now is important, Sabathia's odds of staying healthy and productive for the next 5 years are greater than him staying healthy and productive for the next 6 years. The other money factor to consider is present value. Player salaries inflate faster than real world inflation. How much with Sabathia really be worth in 6 years versus what the Yankees are offering him in that year? It's all arguable, but the Yankee's money advantage, at least with their present offer, is not a slam dunk over the Brewers.
A gentleman's game. There's a quote in The Legend of Bagger Vance that I'm probably going to get totally wrong, but a google search isn't coming up with anything. Young Hardy Greaves says, "Golf is the greatest game in the world. It's fun, it's hard, and you call your own fouls. If you're honest. And most people are." Pro Golfer and Appleton, Wisconsin native, J.P. Hayes proved it two days ago when he realized he had played one hole in one round of the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School with an non-conforming ball. This cost him a chance to qualify for either the PGA or the Nationwide tour. That's refreshing in today's sports world.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Bucks lost to the defending chamion Celtics 102-97 in overtime on Saturday. They started the game with both Redd and Charlie Villanueva on the bench and would end the game with Bogut in the locker room. Given these facts, the Bucks played a hell of a game. Or at least they played two good quarters, one bad quarter and an outstanding fourth-quarter in which they came back from a 12 point deficit to take the game to overtime. Bogut was ejected in the 4th quarter which forced the Bucks to play Dan Gadzuric against kevin Garnett. That and some bad shooting were enough to put an end to the Bucks late game run. A few notes:
- Michael Redd. In a lot of ways, the Bucks are better without Redd than they are with him. Lately they've been showing a lot of hustle and tough defense that would lose something with Redd on the court. It would have been great to have Redd come off the bench when we really needed points--nobody can argue that he's not a great scorer--but he could never be bench player on the Bucks.
- The Guards. Both Ramon Sessions and Luke Ridnour are playing great basketball right now. Against the Celtics, Ridnour took it to overtime with a lay-up. The day before, it was Sessions who tied the game with a 3-pointer to head to overtime against Memphis. On Saturday, Ridnour was 5/7 from the field and 3/4 from 3-point range.
- Bogut. Andrew Bogut has learned to score over the last few weeks. After starting the season cold, he's been tearing it up the last few games. He had 20 by the time he was ejected--5 points better than Kevin Garnett, who he also out-rebounded 9 to 7.
- The Refs. Bogut got punched in the face and was thrown out of the game for it. The puncher, Kevin Garnett, wasn't. I realize it was Bogut's second technical and only Garnett's first, and that I don't understand the rules of NBA basketball, but this call was bullshit. Also, there were a number of other bullshit calls, including some nonsense where sessions got fouled but had to take a jump ball instead of getting shots.
- The Kids. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has been awesome. He started the season as an athletic, energetic bench guy with strong defense. Now he starts and he can score. He added 14 points to go with his 9 rebounds against the Celtics. Potsie [Joe Alexander] is coming along alright too. With Charlie V, Redd and Bogut unavailable, he saw some playing time and held his own for the most part.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Anyway, I suspect there is not much to be learned from this week's drubbing of the Bears, except perhaps that Nick Barnett is not that important, and that Rex Grossman is apparently just Kyle Orton with a bum ankle.
What I would like to discuss is all of the weirdness. You know, like:
The Minnesota Vikings, last week, recording two safeties against the Green Bay Packers, followed by the Wisconsin Badgers, getting two safeties this week against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. I've never seen two safeties in a game, and then it happens twice in one week in some weird parallel way.
The NFL's first ever 11-10 score happened yesterday when the Steelers beat the Chargers.
The last play of that game was incorrectly ruled dead when it should have been a TD for the Steeler defense. This allegedly led to a 64 million dollar swing in winners and losers in Vegas.
There was a frickin' tie!
Donovan McNabb did not know that NFL games could end in ties!
I need a drink.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Someone over at MLBTradeRumors took the time to put together a nice Excel spreadsheet chronicling the trades of Doug Melvin.
His first trade ever? Moving Jose Canseco to the Red Sox. Shrewd Doug, very shrewd.
I also forgot that he had traded for Villanueva, that De La Rosa's entire net was Graffanino (ugh), and can't help but think Gabe Gross could have been pretty damn valuable on the team this year. Josh Butler? He'll never make the squad.
Direct DL link here
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
I will raise high my Fremulon Insurance coffee mug and toast these warriors of sports journalism on the their final day.
Interestingly, the rest of the NL seems to be making those losses a bit easier on the Brewers.
The Cubs traded in order to downgrade their bullpen. Sweet! The Brewers should go hard after Wood. He's a very good bullpen arm who doesn't walk guys and doesn't put guys on base. Despite pitching in Wrigley as often as he did, Wood only gave up 3 long balls.
If the Brewers were willing to take a $10 million flier on Gagne, there is no reason they shouldn't pony up for Wood.
Secondly, Randy Johnson is a free agent. Johnson made $15 million last year, so I don't really know what his price will be, but assuming there is an ugly old man discount, I'd have no problem with the Brewers giving him 3 at $36 or so. It'll likely be the longest offer he gets (he is 44 for God's sake), but his lack of precipitous decline and his ability to adjust to his changing skill set tell me he has some years left in that old left arm.
When it comes right down to it, I'd rather have an old Randy Johnson than an unreliable Ben Sheets.
There are obviously other options out there, but I would love to see the Brewers strike hard and fast and make an early splash. Sign Johnson to solidify the rotation, sign Wood to bolster the bullpen and then start wheeling and dealing to fill out the roster.
The offseason essentially starts today. The following are my goals for the Brewers:
1. Sign a #3 level (at least) starting pitcher
2. Sign a dominant bullpen arm
3. Improve 3rd base
4. Improve 2nd (Ronnie Belliard is my current desire)
By the end of today, all hopes will have been dashed of signing CC Sabathia. The Yankees will come out with an offer designed to scare off all competitors, and it will work, at least in the Brewers case. I expect Sabathia's contract to shame Santana's and him to sign with the Yankees by Wednesday. And if the money is what I guess it will be, he'd be a total fool not to. He says he loved Milwaukee, which is awesome, and hopefully he talks it up with people in the game, but I think that's about as much help as we can expect from the massive lefty.
He kept the Crew afloat when it was being scuttled from within, and willed the team into the playoffs with an amazing two week stretch in which he started four hundred and seventy-six games. It was astounding.
No hard feelings here my man, take the money. You certainly earned it.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Braun: .301/.364/.620 44 HR 134 RC
Holy crap (That is an MVP year)
Sadly, it's not all good news. James predicts Cameron will decline precipitously:
Cameron: .237/.325/.434 24 HR 77 RC
Check out the rest of his predictions. The fun starts now!
He figures Weeks to play a bit better, Hardy to be a tad worse and Hart to stay strong throughout the year.
I just returned from the season ticket holder luncheon with Dave Niehaus and Jack Zduriencik... ...The most interesting thing he had to say all afternoon was in response to the question about how he planned to incorporate sabermetrics and modern analytical methods into the Mariner organization. He said that he is forming the Mariners “Department of Baseball Research,” and he plans to staff it with sabermetricians. That department would be responsible for making sure that decision making at every level of the organization, including decisions made in the dugout, were based on all the available information, including all the statistical information. Jack got one of the biggest ovations he got all day for this answer.
Do the Brewers have anything like this? I'm assuming they don't.
The Spurs were playing without Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but it's these games that the Bucks have to take this year. So far they have been. For the most part, they've lost reasonably close games to better teams, and beaten the weaker teams. That's about all you could ask for. The Bucks are still without Michael Redd, but I'm not sure it's hurting them that much. Last night's starting five included Charlie Bell and Luc Richard Mbah ah Moute, along with regular starters Bogut, Ridnour, and Jefferson. Sessions added 24 minutes of the bench and Charlie V and Joe Alexander each added 10 minutes or so. Everyone scored. Everyone contributed. They're playing with a fairly balanced team right now. They could use a star, but I'm pretty sure Michael Redd isn't the guy.
In Brewers news, The CC Sabathia sweepstakes begins tomorrow, when other teams are allowed to throw money at him. I imagine we'll know if CC will remain a Brewer within a week. On a related note, Tom H. is reporting that Doug Melvin & Co. have not closed the door on Ben Sheets. If Sabathia leaved, the Brewers may make an effort to Sheets. Despite his baggage, I'd love to see him around another couple years. Jeff Passan at Yahoo sports is ranking free agents and has Sabathia at #1 and Sheets at #8. The other Brewers on the list include #40 Brian Shouse, #48 Ray Durham, #90 Gabe Kapler, # 91 Russell Branyan, #105 Guillermo Mota, #107 Mike Lamb, #109 Craig Counsell and #113 Eric Gagne.
Who's the better QB? Paul's post from Sunday has turned into an interesting Favre vs. Rodgers debate. Commenter Horrace makes a good case for Favre. I'm still not convinced. I think the Packers' play calling was way better the first 9 games of last season than it has been this year. What do you think?