Saturday, May 31, 2008


5 games. 11 hits in 19 at bats.
5 BB.
2 SB.
4 RBI.
8 runs.
.680 OB%.
.947 Slugging %.

He scored the game winning run last night, leading off the 11th with a hit.

Today, he lead off the 10th with his first big league home run to beat the Braves 8-7.


Friday, May 30, 2008


It's an appropriate name for today's list of links since they all involve him.

CBSsportsline profiles the chase for 600

And the attention Young Master Bruce (eh...I'm just trying it out) is getting. The fans in Cincinnati are having a hard time getting behind Jr this season because they know as soon as he hits 600, the club will deal him. There is a club option on Jr. for next year, but the Reds aren't likely to exercise it. I think he'd stay, but it's not up to him. It's probably better for the club long term if he moves on...but it still saddens me.

There was a time I would have committed murder to get my hands on one of these. It was a bygone day called...last week. Some people in Reds country have never been happy with Jr. because he wasn't what they wanted. Me? I'm just happy that in a day where it seems like every guy I drove hours to watch play has let me down, that Jr is still out there trying. He's not the demi-god he was at 25, but I don't care. Every time I watch him play, it's like I'm 16 again and wishing to God in heaven that I could do what he could.

Barry Larkin and Reggie Miller were the first athletes to retire that I watched their whole careers. Ken Griffey Jr is the first one to really make me feel old.

Sal Paolantonio isn't real popular with me these days due to his hackery over the Harrison incident (He shouldn't even live in a neighborhood like that!). Today he picks under and overrated coaches. He's dead on about Tom Moore of course, but his attacks on Jeff Fischer are ridiculous. Want to know why Fischer fails in the playoffs? His teams have been lead by Steve McNair and Vince Young...and they weren't that good. Playoff record alone is a really poor standard of judgment of a coach. The best way to judge a coach is over the course of several seasons. Do his teams under or overperform their talent? Does the coach consistently put his team in a position to win? The playoffs are a crapshoot. Jeff Fischer is one of the best around, and Salpal can't convince me otherwise just by listing a couple of individual games where his team was clearly not as talented as the opponent. He kills Fischer for losing on the road at New England by a field goal? Seriously? He kills Fischer for losing the Super Bowl by a yard to one of the greatest offenses of all time? Really?

I'd like to do my own overrated column about writers. Salpal would be on top of the list today.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dark days a'comin?

Nope. I think they already left. profiles Tom Crean's efforts to save the Hoosier program today. Let's be clear, the worst is already past. Next season may be a tad rough, but it will be a whole lot better than the dawning realization that the coach everyone was a little scared of just went out and turned your basketball program into a ethical toilet. Some of the hand wringing is a tad overblown. The turnaround time for a major college basketball program is 2 years, three tops. Next year might be rough, but by 2010, the Hoosiers should be well stocked.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What could I possibly complain about now?

Corey Patterson has been sent to AAA.

How does that make me feel? Sorta like this...

My favorite line from the article is: "His on-base percentage was .240, extremely poor for a leadoff hitter."

Um, no guys. That's extremely poor for ANY hitter.

Someone explain to me...

How is this is a foul...

and this isn't

And people wonder why I hate the NBA. I'm fine with the refs swallowing the whistle for off the ball stuff in the final couple of seconds. I'm fine with the ref not calling a foul in favor of an offensive player careening out of control in the lane desperately hoping to draw contact. But how can you not whistle contact against a guy with ball in his hands trying to hit the game winning shot from a relatively set, stable position?

You know why no one cared about Donaghy throwing games? Because at least that made sense. At least we could all say, "Oh no wonder he sucked. He was on the take". What logic or reason is there behind this no call? We are left to posit and speculate as to why the NBA might possibly want the Lakers in the finals and not the Spurs. I hate the conspiracy theory stuff, but geeze, sometimes it almost is the simplest explanation. Without it, I'm forced to assume that a multi-billion dollar corporation with global reach merely hires incompetent boobs to fill one of the most important roles in its operations (and no that's not a Violet Palmer joke-though it could be).

The kicker is...I don't even care about these teams. It just pisses me off on principle.

CHFF contributes a couple of fun links. The first is utterly juvenile (but freaking hilarious).
The second reviews the worst franchises in NFL history. There are lots of Colts ties to be found (check out New Orleans, Houston, and Tampa Bay)
John Clayton thinks the Colts are prepared for an uncapped 2010.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Corey Patterson just got worse without even entering a game

Jay Bruce's first game: 3 for 3, 2 RBI, 2 Runs, 2 BB.

How bad is Corey Patterson? Not only has he not had a HR since April 9, not only is his OB% .242 (yeah, I'm not making that up), not only has he been caught stealing 4 times in 12 attempts, not only is he making an inexplicable $3.5 million....

but he's been keeping this kid off the field.

I defy anyone to show me a position player who has hurt his team more than this guy.

Let's Play Two (all at the same time)

Sunday's 18 inning nightmare may well prove to be the watershed moment of the 2008 season for the Reds. After winning 6 in a row, then losing four in a row, the Reds needed a win on Sunday to finish their west coast trip a respectable 3-4. A win would have sent them home closer to the Cubs than when they left town. Obviously, losing the game in 18 innings isn't what anyone had in mind, but there were several issues in this game that made the result particularly frustrating.

The first occurred in the 4th inning. The Reds were down 3-1 with the pitcher's spot up and two outs with the bases loaded. Matt Belisle, who is not really a major league quality starter, had already pitched poorly. The Reds had an off day scheduled for Monday. Instead of pulling him for a pinch hitter and using a long reliever, Dusty decided that he didn't really need runs to win and let the pitcher hit. Now, I realize that pinch hitting in the 4th inning is unorthodox, but considering who was on the mound, the subsequent off day, and the relative importance of the game, Baker should never have let Belisle head to the plate. Belisle obviously made the third out of the inning and went on to pitch 1.3 more innings, giving up two more runs before leaving with runners at 2nd and 3rd and 1 out in the 5th. By not lifting Belisle, Dusty not only crapped all over a prime scoring chance, but left in an awful pitcher who was throwing poorly. Granted the Reds had three other chances to win that were squandered by various bullpen pitchers, but this exchange in the 4th doomed the club that day.

Dusty also pulled Dunn in a double switch in the 9th inning. I suppose it was for defensive reasons, but with a one run lead and a closer working his third game in a row, it didn't make a ton of sense. Dunn's spot would come up 3 more times that game. Sure would have been nice to get the team's hottest hitter up.

The only bright spot for the Reds was that Corey Patterson went 0-8. Why might this turn out to be the game that saved the season? Because Corey (I'm the worst player in baseball) Patterson is almost sure to get cut before tonight's game, making way for Jay "They traded Josh "Hambone" Hamilton over me" Bruce to get his call up as an everyday outfielder. Granted, I have a feeling that Sunday's game was the end of the 08 Reds, but if Bruce is what they say he is, it might prove to be a blessing in disguise. Personally, I see no way that in 10 years trading Hamilton instead of Bruce and/or Votto will be viewed positively, but I have no recourse but to hope.

UPDATE: So the Reds designate Hatteberg and NOT Patterson? What does a guy have to do to get cut on this team?

Jr. wants to go to Indy. They need to make him Grand Marshal.

Prisco gets it right for the Colts at least. Nobody is saying AV is bad, but he's not elite anymore.

If you like soccer at all, this is a fun but time consuming list. Thanks to Tim Who Doesn't Read Blogs for the link.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Winner

Congratulations to Scott Dixon for winning the greatest race in the world. This was no shocker. Dixon was picked by nearly everyone to win the race. He took full advantage of a relatively inexperienced field and wet May conditions that left little time for the other teams to close the gap. To put it simply: Best driver + best car = victory. Dixon was money all last season finishing second in the 500 and in the IRL points championship to Dario Franchitti. It was his time.

Sure, we are disappointed that Marco Andretti could not seal the deal. We also wouldn't have minded seeing a bigger name like Helio or Danica take the prize. Only two of the past ten winners have been American, which like it or not, hurts the sport's domestic popularity. But when you look past the minor negatives there was a lot to like:

1.) Dixon isn't going anywhere. This is good because developing and retaining talent is open-wheel's first big challenge after unification.

2.) A (young and talented) Andretti led 15 laps. He can win this race. I'll be watching year after year just to see the look on Mario's face when he does.

3.) The Tony Kanaan curse has become a genuine phenomenon. Talk about snake-bit. He has led each of the past seven 500s only to come up empty each time. Classy guy with a winning personality. His interview after his crash was solid drama. His anger at Andretti and concern for Sarah Fisher was the moment of the race for me, on or off the track.

4.) The unification rookies have officially been seasoned. They'll come to Indy next year with a greater respect for what it takes to complete 200 laps, let alone win the thing. Hopefully they'll avoid stupid little mistakes like slowing down way too early heading into pit lane.

5.) Who said there was no attrition and no passing? Well, my dad for one. Buddy Lazier improved 15 spots to finish 17th. Ryan Hunter-Reay earned top-rookie status by impressively moving up 14 spots to finish sixth. As for attrition, only the top 18 cars were still running at the end of the race. A nice number of crashes, but still plenty of green-flag racing.

6.) Danica offered a little trumped-up drama by storming down pit lane. Very nice.

7.) Vitor Meira continued his amazing stretch of 80 races without a victory. He has been runner-up at Indy twice in that span. Talk about painful.

8.) Milka Duno didn't get anyone killed. In fact, she finished 19th despite her embarrasing spin at the end. In other news, AJ Foyt IV didn't get anyone killed.

9.) Roger Penske didn't get his vile Daytona/Indy back-to-back.

10.) No need to tell Mr. F1 himself, Graham Rahal that Indy ain't as easy as it looks. He fell deep into the pack before crashing out and finishing dead last.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dungy says Philly PD not likely to implicate Harrison

On Mike and Mike in the Morning today, Tony Dungy said that they've talked to the Philly PD, and while the investigation is ongoing, it now seems very unlikely that Marvin Harrison will be directly implicated or affected by the situation that was reported a few weeks ago.

Score one for the brick and mortar media. Way to really get the story right. Why does everyone hate bloggers again? What honestly is the difference between Deadspin and ESPN when they report unsubstantiated rumors and sensationalistic reports?

Dungy also said it was unfortunate that the Patriots accomplishments were tarnished. I'm sure this will get inflamed and sound-bitten to death, but if you hear the context in which he was speaking, he talked at length about what a great team they have and that it was a shame they've been tarnished and that people now won't remember them for how great they really are.

Listen, they HAVE been tarnished. No one looks at them the same way anymore. If someone wants to say they SHOULDN'T be tarnished, that's fine, but it doesn't change the reality that they are. The comments were pretty innocuous, but I'm sure the Pats crazies will make too big a deal out of it.

Chad sends us this about Jr. If he gets to 599, and I can be in Cincy, I'm going at least once.

I missed this a couple of days ago. TMQ argues for a Belichick suspension. It's interesting and almost persuasive. Personally, I think it's worse for him that there be no closure. As long as the public feels like he's gotten away with cheating, they'll hate him more for it. I'm good with people hating him as long as they want. I think the public contempt does more to control cheating than a suspension would. Shame is a powerful tool that our society has forgotten.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Cheesecake Factory

I'm a little blurry eyed this morning after trying to prove to myself that 31 isn't too old to go to a midnight showing of a movie. I realize that reviewing movies isn't the normal fare of this blog, but since it had Indiana in the title, I feel justified in sharing my thoughts.

As a fan of almost all non-duck related projects by George Lucas, I was understandably psyched about the newest Indy movie. I figured that they had already made a truly bad Indiana Jones movie (Temple of Doom), so this movie almost certainly couldn't be the worst entry in the series. The good news is that I was right. There was a lot to like about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There were good scenes, and some flashes of good dialogue. I dug the whole homage to the 50s thing, and even the "Kid from the movie with the Robots" held his own.

Ultimately, the movie falls flat for two reasons: 1. it doesn't take itself seriously even a little and 2. it has no emotional center. Now I realize that it's an action movie designed to entertain. But Raiders had a real sense of peril about it. All the first three movies had Indy somehow grow and change because of his adventure. He seemed to learn something as a skeptic or have his worldview challenged. KotCS (ugh) lacked any real sense of danger because in most of the scenes where people were escaping from danger, the people in front would stop and mug for the camera as the guy last in line would struggle to catch up. In the end, Indy's comment to sum up the 'moral' of the story ("their true treasure was knowledge") was utterly unrelated thematically to any of the other themes or events of the movie. He didn't grow and change in this film, so neither do we.

The weakest part of the movie was the direction, as Spielberg continually made choices to plant his tongue in his cheek instead of even giving the illusion that Indy was really scared. It's like he was scared to let the actors pretend to not be aware they were in an Indy Jones film. He seemed to dislike the premise of the film so much that he didn't want any sense of wonder or reality to seep in. He was content to let this be a campy homage to Indiana Jones films. It felt like if he taken the movie more seriously, the audience could too.

It's not a bad film at all. It just wasn't worth getting home at 2:30 AM to watch.

(Oh, and the inside joke in the title of this post refers to the decor of the restaurant we ate in and the fact that Indy finds a room with artifacts of all the ancient cultures of the world.)

Writers are out of touch. The Super Bowl is not a reward for the players-that's called the Pro Bowl. Wojo can shove it.

Stampede Blue passed 1,000,000 hits. Nice job Big Blue Shoe.

ESPN is doing a running list of greatest drivers. I'll start you at 15-11 because it has Unser and Mears (my all time favorite driver). Check out Fangio on 10-6. In Argentina, they have a premium grade of gas called Fangio. Why hasn't anyone here figured that out? Would you be more inclined to put premium in the tank if it was called Andretti? Yeah, fill up the Escort with Andretti, and be quick about it! Ok, maybe not the Escort, but you get my drift.

How do we know that Kelvin Sampson was dirty? Every player he brought in except for Crawford is now gone. Way to recruit quality guys there Kelvin.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008



Lucas Oil Stadium,


Thanks Bill. Thanks Bart.

Apocalypse Now

It's official...the NFL owners have lost their minds. They don't like giving up 60% of their revenue to the players and will fight tooth and nail to get that number back down. The last contribution of Paul Tagliabue has been wiped off the boards, and we are headed to an uncapped 2010 season in which the Washington Redskins will buy virtually every player in the NFL, leaving the rest of us to watch monkey play linebacker.

I'm not sure if this is a future Colt, or a picture of Ralph Wilson

Ok, so maybe that's a bit extreme, but I can't see how this is good news for the Colts. Yes, Lucas Oil Stadium will help revenues, but as other teams add new stadiums, it will be harder for the small market clubs to survive in an uncapped world. Right now, the franchise tagging system creates an impetus for players to resign with their local clubs, ensuring teams can keep a nucleus intact. That will still be in place for 2010, but beyond that the rule book goes clean out the window. I suppose it will be more important than ever for teams to draft well and coach up players.

The one bright side for the team is that Freddy Keiaho, Bethea, and Marlin Jackson WON'T get to be unrestricted free agents after 09 like originally planned.

The Star is asking the same question that I posed yesterday. What happens to Indy if there is no 2012 Super Bowl? Jimmy isn't worried about it? Great man. I'll take that to heart as I pay an extra $.30 for my cheeseburger at lunch.

In other news, Freeney makes a list of top 10 pass rushers (shocking!)

Lil' Bobby Kravitz (I'm trying it out as a nickname-do you like it?) reviews Indy's seemingly great chances to nail down the Big Show.

Oh by the way...the Kitties are on the market.

Dennis Hopper is pimping Naptown to the NFL bigwigs. Are we trying to land a Super Bowl or a crystal meth convention? I can just hear him channeling his inner Hoosiers: All I know is that no city this small has ever played for a Super Bowl Championship! Wait, I guess that line would work better for Jacksonville. Never mind. The Star is posting a running 'blog' of sorts on the meetings. Great job.

Prisco applies logic to why the Pats are first and the Colts second. He's not wrong. Until we know that Freeney is healthy, we have to worry.

The Super Bowl announcement will be live online sometime after 2:30. Watch it here.

I know the announcement is out, but I'll keep throwing up good stuff like this. I'm telling you, I'm really thrilled. I love Indianapolis and feel like the city is an important part of who I am. This is really just a wonderful day for all of us. plays the Dungy angle.

Monday, May 19, 2008

12 years later

It's been 12 years since CART trotted out the U.S. 500 as its answer to the Indianapolis 500. You'll probably recall that the race was run in Michigan on the same day as the real 500. Now that over a decade later there is again a unified open wheel series we can take a look back and laugh at that disasterous first lap. Who are we kidding? We were laughing hysterically at the time.

Looking good...sort of

Peter King graces us with this exciting nugget today:

I think the worst-kept secret in the NFL is that Indianapolis will get the 2012 Super Bowl when owners meet in Atlanta this week. Indy deserves it. The city lost the 2011 game to Dallas, 17 votes to 15, and there's always been a strong feeling toward new stadiums in cities that have enough hotel rooms and are weatherproof. All domed stadiums in northern cities eventually get one Super Bowl. It happened at the Metrodome, the Silverdome and Ford Field, and the Colts are in line to get the first one ever played in Indiana.

This is wonderful news, of course. We've sort of been silent on the bid, not wanting to jinx what should be a sure thing. Houston and Arizona have both had their shot, and will certainly get more chances in the future, but after twice tying Dallas on a secret ballot last year, the city of Indianapolis is right in feeling like the NFL owes it. Lucas Oil Stadium is a publicly funded venture (ugh), and the citizens of Indiana deserve some compensation for the generosity to financial behemoth that is the N.F.L.

The dark side of this ray of hope? There may not BE a 2012 Super Bowl.

Son of a... Talk about yanking the rug right out from under you.


Bump Day was sweet. Buddy Lazier has always been one of my favorite drivers and his mad dash to make the field was awesome. Lazier hasn't always had the best car, but he typically carved up the field and made a good run anyway. When he did have the best car, he won the whole freaking thing. I couldn't be more excited about the race on Sunday.

Maybe Stephen Colbert is right. That's what I thought when I saw this report. Then about the 1:12 mark, I realized that this man wasn't attacked by a bear...IT WAS BOB SANDERS. I heard it had something to do with gang hit on his uncle. Great, just what we need...more controversy. Well, at least will be all over it.

ESPN writers share their favorite baseball stories. Jerry Crasnick's about Marge Schott is amazing. Jayson Stark writes about the Sosa ball that broke a window across from Wrigley. That was on a Sunday. I was at the Friday game against the Mets. It was early May and FREEZING at Wrigley. The Mets held a 1-0 lead until the 9th. The Cubs got a two out double, and Mark Grace was at the plate. The Mets chose to give him an intentional walk to pitch to Sosa. He was in a streak of 7 straight strikeouts. He slammed the first pitch off that same building across the street for a game winning HR. Two days later he did it again, and broke a window. It was amazing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Get 'er Dunn

So out of nowhere the Reds post 6 straight wins and 7 of 8. Despite Dusty's best efforts, Adam Dunn continues to rake, and the Redlegs are finally starting to resemble the club that had such a promising spring. Dunn continues to be the most important bat in the Reds lineup. This team can't survive combined Dunn/Griffey slumps, but when Dunn contributes, the pitching is solid enough to string wins together.

Winning a series over the Cubs and sweeping the Indians is about as gratifying a two weeks as I can hope for. Volquez and Cueto continue to pitch well, and with Arroyo posting 3 of 4 excellent starts, there seems to be no reason to conclude that the Reds aren't for real. They've played a tough schedule to this point, but that's been offset by a 9-3 mark in one run games. Here's hoping for a .500 road trip to the west coast followed by another solid homestand.

With Volquez winning today to run his record to 7-1 (his only loss coming in a 2-0 shut out), the trade with the Rangers continues to be one of the more fascinating. My man crush on Josh "on pace for 189 RBIs" Hamilton continues, but it's hard to argue with a 24 year old pitcher with an ERA that has yet to see 1.5.

If this team can figure out how to hit consistently (and this depends on big 44), it will win games. Another 40 HR, .250, 100, 100 from Dunner will lead to significant games being played in September.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Linking up

Random stuff from here and there:

Peyton doesn't really have any comment on the Harrison situation. How could he? Near as anyone can tell there isn't a situation to comment on.

The owners are utterly insane. From what I've read, Ralph Wilson is one of the chief whiners about the deal. Well guess what Ralphy, if you lose this deal, you'll never again field a competitive team in a market like Buffalo. Moron. Oh wait...I guess he can always thrive in Canada.

FO reviews the AFC South offseason. Someone needs to tell them that Dylan Gandy got released already.

Trading Jr. does not equal 'rebuilding'

Ken Rosenthal of argues that the Reds might enter a 'rebuilding' phase soon. This season is currently on the brink for sure. Despite winning 4 of 5, the Reds know full well that the next two weeks hold the key for which direction this season is going. The start has been horrible, but one certainly wonders if it is even possible to hit under .150 with RISP and two outs for the season. I'm not challenging the premise of the article (Reds may trade Dunn/Griffey), just the terminology. Personally, I see no reason to trade Dunn. He is one of the most productive (albeit in a 3 outcome sense) hitters in baseball over the last several years. Even now as his BA kills my fantasy team, his OB% is solid and he is contributing. Still, he's in a walk year, so a deal may be inevitable.

But I digress. The Reds don't need to 'rebuild' even if they do move a couple of impending free agents. The rotation is in more respectable shape than it has been in some time. Arroyo has rebounded from a heinous start to post 3 excellent starts in 4 games. Cueto's WHIP and K/BB numbers are still solid despite getting pounded recently (he's not walking people which bodes well). Volquez and Harang are top shelf for now (though Volquez's walk rate gives me the willies). With several live arms in Louisville and AA ball, the future is brighter than it has been in some time. The Reds could use a shortstop for sure, preferably one with less breakable knees (seriously, I've never HEARD of a broken knee. How did both our SS break their knees in a span of 3 months? That's insane).

My point isn't that this team doesn't have holes, it does. But most people look at the Reds and scratch their heads because there is obvious talent all around, but the results are poor. I'm not sure that 'rebuilding' is really what is needed. This team needs something, but a complete reboot isn't in order, nor is it really what Rosenthal described (although he is right the Patterson/Bruce issue which is too insane to even discuss...anyone who reads this blog knows what I feel for Corey Patterson-utter contempt). I love Junior, and I'd hate to see him go (although I could live with Seattle for symmetry's sake), but let's not call moving one aging veteran or even a couple of free agent year outfielders 'rebuilding'. That's more than a little hyperbolic.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pats fan turned the movie off too soon

Foxsports has printed an article by a Patriots fan who embraces the vile thing his team has become. He says that it's great being the evil Empire. His piece ends by saying

"Embrace the hate. We're Darth Vader. And they're living on Alderaan."

An apt analogy I'm sure. May I just point out that in a delicious case of life imitating art, the Empire went down in flames, twice imploding under it's own soulless technological weight. Sure, they had their 17-0 run of Striking Back at the NFL, but that was happily bracketed by losses to the Manning boys which sort of renders the middle stretch dramatically resonant, but ultimately meaningless to the final tally. I doubt that any Imperial officers were drowning their sorrows after the battle of Endor saying, "Yeah, well we kicked their asses on Hoth!". Nice try buddy, but being the Empire is only great when you win.

Ask the Yankees how they like it now.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spy Yawn

I'm going to make this short because the seas could run full with the ink that has been wasted on Spygate the past few months. I must say, I am disappointed there wasn't more damning evidence coming from Matt Walsh than what was presented, but all in all it's been a fun ride. Being able to chide and needle the Pats fans with this story has been great, but hopefully we can all stop pretending it's relevant. The thing that's great about all this is that it proves that it doesn't pay to be a jerk. The fact is that everyone was way harder on Belichick because he's an insufferable ahole. Pats fans oddly relished and excused their coach's behavior because they somehow thought that it made him a better coach. Now he's been publicly slapped down, and their franchise has been soiled mostly because no one ever liked the guy to begin with. Hi-freaking-larious. Do I really think all this is that big a deal? No, of course not. We said so months ago, but I always enjoy ironic punishment, and the last several months have been full of it for the NFL's least likable franchise and fans. It's been a fun side show, but let's move on and get ready for football season.

I do want to add one comment about the Boston Herald. Thanks for helping bloggers everywhere look good. Real nice job guys. I used to think the Boston fans were just whining like everyone else when they complain about the local papers (for the record, we only complain about Kravitz...we love the rest of the guys at the Star). Now I can see what they are talking about. The AP, ESPN and everyone else were forced to run with the story once you 'broke it'. You ran the story without: ever talking to the man with the tapes, ever seeing the tapes, and without your 'source' having ever seen the tapes. Niiiiiice. I would certainly hope every Patriots fan would immediately cancel their subscription.

Links: Here's an interesting SI piece about misconceptions in the game. #1 and 2 are right on. #3 makes sense when you read what he saying (turnovers should be taken in context), but he's on dangerous turf. You almost can't overemphasize turnovers. They do turn the game. It's true though, that not all are created equal. A pick 40 yards down field on 3rd and 17 isn't really a turn over. It's a disguised punt. A missed field goal is a deadly play for a team. It's a concise, fairly obvious piece, but useful.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sampson blames IU, global warming

It was not enough for Kelvin Sampson to set Indiana's basketball program back five years with his deeds. He apparently won't be satisfied until the Hoosiers are dead and buried.

Look, I honestly felt sorry for KS at first. He was breaking the kind of NCAA rules that a great many college coaches bend and break every day. In his mind, what amounted to one extra phone call per week wasn't a big deal. He could not understand why the NCAA was picking on him. I don't know either, but rules are rules. You can't break them. And you can't violate your probation when you are caught.

Sampson is throwing Indiana under the bus because he thinks Indiana threw him under the bus first. But what did he expect? He put Indiana in a terrible position. Now he wants to blame everyone from his assistants to the compliance department to the athletic director. When you are the boss you don't get away with laying blame on your subordinates. I can't believe nobody told me this was going on. I specifically told my recruiters not to do this!

Not nearly good enough, Kelvin.

Update: Kravitz can't figure out why AD Rick Greenspan still has a job.

No news, good news

Marvin Harrison continues to deny involvement in the recent incident, this time to the team. Jim Irsay makes a good point when he says:
"Until we hear more, this isn't even a case of innocent until proven guilty because there hasn't been a charge yet"
This quote is particularly hilarious in light of some of the more over the top articles and insinuations bandied about by members of the media and blogosphere who can only rightly be classified as...bored and stupid. We didn't even bother to link to a wild story from a radio guy covered by Deadspin about Harrison being some kind virtual modern day Sonny Corleone. Also of note in this article is that the Philly police are saying that charges are 'not imminent'. This is a relief, because about 3 times a day I go on "Harrison run" around the internet checking a variety of sites for breaking news on this story. It now sounds like no news is coming anytime soon.

Personally, I'd rather some kind of charge come out of this against someone other than Marvin so the kooks can shut up, but at this point my money is on the whole thing going away. It's a classic inner city Philly case that police just can't waste their time on solving when they have a pretty full slate of murders to solve. Now, if Marvin does wind up with some kind of charge, his denial to team officials could result in action by the league if they determine that he lied to the team/league. At this point, that scenario is appearing more and more unlikely. I think that three or four years from now we may look back at his and say, "remember that one time they though Marvin shot some dude. How crazy was that?"

Something good has come of all this though...we now have third party verification that 88 is a ninja, something we have long suspected but not been able to prove. Plucky ninja!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Today's voice of reason

Here's an excellent piece from the Cincinnati Enquirer. It's a simple little piece dispelling some of the little myths about the 2008 Reds. Last night I almost pulled my hair out. In the first inning of the second game of a double header, Ryan Freel doubled to lead off the first. Jerry Hariston Jr. then bunted him to third. The question is...why?

A bunt in that situation made little sense. With Griffey on deck, the odds of him making a productive out are low. He eventually drove in the run with a hit to left, but it's probable that Freel scores from second ANYWAY on the base hit. The sac bunt accomplished nothing but waste an out and lowered the odds of a big inning. There are circumstances where getting a runner to third with one out is advisable (pitcher hitting, tie game in the 9th), but in the first inning of a game where the pitcher has an ERA over 5 (and your pitcher's ERA is over 8!), and has a .360 BAA and the hitter is hitting .330, giving up an out with a sac bunt becomes losing baseball.

In other news, pole day was mostly a hit, so check out this interview between Whitlock and Danica. We chide Whitlock from time to time, but he's a fan of the Blue and Gold and loves the race, so that makes him ok in our book (even if he's on crack when it comes to football).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Honest to blog

If you haven't seen the now week-old freakout by Buzz Bissinger on Deadspin blogger Will Leitch, do yourself a favor and check it out. The topic that they were supposed to be discussing with Bob Costas on HBO was the role of the Internet in sports. The discussion degenerated quickly as Bissinger imploded on national (premium) TV. His rage is felt by many in traditional media who seem angry that no one wants to read their papers anymore. Earlier this week, Jason Whitlock weighed in the issue, basically telling the print world to get over it. I realize this story is a few days old, but the Harrison stuff kept me from having time to really comment on it, and there are a couple of points that I feel are worth making.

I completely understand the antipathy some feel toward blogging. It is an inherently narcissistic act to assume that anyone else would give a crap about something you have say. I don't frequent too many 'classic' blogs, and generally pay more attention to 'old media' sources. But, um, I also write a blog. Of course Bissinger is correct in asserting that many (most?) blogs are profane and moronic, but he fundamentally errs when he chastises Leitch for not measuring up to one of the great sports writers of all time. Bloggers don't have go be better than W.C. Heinz. To be useful, they only have to be better than no talent ass-clowns like Bob Kravitz and Scoop Jackson.

Aaaaaaand there's the rub. The truly gifted and great writers will always find a way to be gainfully employed even in world ruled by the BgAngridit69. The problem with traditional media, and honestly the reason why Demond and I started writing this blog is that a. the traditional sources weren't meeting our needs, and b. we think we can do it better (smarter and funnier) than some.

I do disagree with many of the points about access being the reason writers suck. I'd freaking kill to have access to players. I don't think it would jade my perspective. I hope that it would give me additional insight into the 'whys' of sports. Access is one of the reasons I love Phil B. Wilson's stuff.

The traditional media has lost its way because it has to keep stirring controversy to keep people reading. The bizarre way this Harrison case is being handled in the media certainly doesn't bolster Bissinger's arguments that journalists are some how more disciplined and principled than idiots like us. When you get right down to it, what's the difference between a blogger and Jay "I don't ever show up at the park" Marriotti? When he writes, he has a disincentive to be honest or accurate. He HAS to be inflammatory and shrill or people will stop paying attention. When you don't write for money, you can be concerned with stuff that matters like strategy and performance. You can say things like, "Wow, that was a bad break" and not be forced to label every loss a choke for fear of losing readers.

This is the ultimate free market. People have a limited amount of time and will gravitate toward spending what they have reading people who are right or interesting or amusing. Most sports columnists have few credentials to recommend them to public. They are just guys who took a journalism class and kissed some editor's butt along the way. Some are great writers, most aren't. Some watch the games and pay attention, others just rumor monger and try to be on the cutting edge of controversy (by the way, I appreciate Kravitz holding back this time). We base our 'authority' to write this blog about the Colts on the fact that we've watched (multiple times) every game for more than a decade and spent time breaking down plays and players. We are amateur hacks to be sure, but I'd like to think we provide something that was missing in the panorama of Colts coverage. And if we don' one will read us. That should say something important to the Bissinger's of the world.

And yes, I'm well aware that the only thing more self-important than a blog is a blog about blogging. Siiiigh...

Demond Sanders: I was really down on the concept of blogging at first. I used to make fun of people who had their own blogs because I personally hate talking about myself. I would never post pictures or videos of my family paling around the house. My wife would, though. Then it clicked. I realized you could blog about sports instead of baby clothes.

I agree that bloggers aren't any more foul or crass than Kravitz, Mariotti, or Scoop. Those writers generally don't swear in print, but they would if they could. They do, however, get away with a lot of things written in poor taste.

The distinction does need to be made between beat writers and opinion givers. Beat writers are irreplaceable because of the vast amount of time they spend around the team. We rely on them for news and I don't see that ever changing. Phil B's blog is relevant not because of his opinions (he's understandably reserved), but because he gives us insight to the severity of injuries and the development of young players. So the question is: do we need highly paid columnists to interpret the beat writer's news for us? I'm not sure we do. Clearly there are a decent number of people who are happy to do it for free.

Columnists are not significantly more knowledgeable than the average blogger or blog-reader. Most of us have been following the Colts for a decade or more. This stuff isn't rocket science. Locker room access would be great, of course. There are those of us who would love to know what Bob Sanders looks like naked. Sorry, I'm just bloggin'.

Sportswriters are hypocritical on the blogging issue. Most of them have lucrative spots on radio and television where they amp up the drama and vitriol far beyond what is necessary. The trend of making sports louder and dumber started from within.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Assumptions, Assumptions

The Sporting News has an article out on the Harrison case. It's mostly a giant retread, but it makes one key mistake that I've heard several times. The article continually refers to what happens to Harrison if he was or wasn't the shooter. It basically presupposes that Harrison is guilty of a crime if in fact he shot the gun. There is another scenario which is extremely plausible, however. Harrison or an associate could have shot the gun in self defense. Most commentators and media types are ignoring this possibility.

I assume that is because if Harrison had acted in self-defense why wouldn't he just tell the cops? I think there are reasons for that.

1. He feels it's easier to keep quiet the situation given the 'victim's' reticence to talk. He hasn't been accused of anything, so why talk? He is a private dude who wants to stay out of the limelight so why would he tell his story to the press?

2. He, like a great many members of his community, may well distrust the police department

3. There's no point in admitting to shooting the gun and THEN constructing a defense for it when the smart thing is to admit nothing until charged, and then construct a defense based on the charges. Why give the prosecution a head start on knowing what you will argue?

It may well be that if Harrison did act in self-defense, or at least can plausibly argue the point, that the DA is having a hard time moving forward with the case. They have to ask themselves what the odds of gaining a conviction are against a man with a well paid defense team, when the victim won't ID Harrison, fired a shot himself, and is a felon. The mysterious 'third victim' may or may not be reliable either as he would obviously have extreme monetary interest in naming Harrison.

Again, I'm not saying he didn't do it. I'm not saying he was justified if he did do it. I am saying that the media coverage of this has been very odd and utterly irrational. This particular article is a great case in point. It sees only two possible scenarios when it's clear there are at least three. (Thanks to for the link)

In other news: Dom is back! Good job to the Big Blue Shoe on catching that one early. This signing was a no brainer. You have to give him a look for no risk and a bargain contract.

Embarrassing Myself

It happens every time. I swear to myself that I won't do it, but I just can't help myself. EVERY time the Cubs and Reds play in Cincinnati, I get in an insane shouting match. Despite the fact that most of my closest friends are Cubs fans and go to the game with me, I can't stop myself from screaming myself hoarse at the idiots who start chanting "Let's Go Cubs!"

Now there's background to this:

1. I HATE people who cheer for the visiting team. When I go to another team's stadium, I do not cheer for my team. I just write snarky articles about it later. Why? Because you pay good money to watch your team. You shouldn't have to put up with drunk aholes from other teams yelling and screaming, especially when...

2. THEIR TEAM HASN'T WON JACK CRAP IN 100 YEARS. Cub fans show up everywhere no matter how bad the Cubs are and start acting like they own the place. They organize cheers and like idiots. This drives me nuts. Listen, if your team has a bunch of titles, or some illustrious history, then fine. I guess you've earned the right to be smug. Cub fans DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT to come and cheer for their club. They should be embarrassed by the Cubs. This is more or less the content of my rant every time. Monday, I basically just started chanting "One Hundred Ye-ars" while the Cub fans were acting up.

3. I have an almost clinical inability to avoid engaging stupid people in debates.

So the 9th inning comes up on Monday, and Cubs start to do business. A bunch of drunk Cub fans (I know that's redundant) start cheering. I start screaming. I acted like a fool in front of my friends (all Cub fans) including one who brought his 5 year old son (sorry Camden). My friend Nate commented: "Imagine what he'd be like if he drank!". Now in my defense, I don't drink and don't use profanity (unless freaking in YOU'VE HAVEN'T WON ANYTHING IN 100 FREAKING YEARS! SHUT UP!), but still. I really have to get a grip. That being said, last place or not, it's our house and I won't give it up so easily.

My other thoughts from that game that don't involve me acting like I'm 5:

Cueto has amazing stuff. He was never really on that game and didn't look comfortable, but his stuff was so good that it made it tough for the hitters even when he wasn't at his best. That's what you want to see from a pitcher. I love Johnny Franchise.

Adam Dunn's 463 foot HR was incredible. I thought it would land in Kentucky.

Felix Pie broke my heart by stealing one from Jr. For some reason, I've seen about a dozen Dunn HRs, but only one Jr. shot.

I love winning series from the Cubs. It makes my week.

Update: almost if on cue, as soon as I link to "Our day in the Hole", ESPN the magazine publishes a piece on David Garrard and spends a couple of paragraphs on how no one cares about the Jags. Classic.

Demond Sanders: You are fairly embarrassing sometimes, but we all have our lesser moments. I remember when Indiana lost to Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament at Conseco on a last second shot by former Hoosier star Luke Recker. On my way out of the building I screamed at an eight-year old Buckeye fan with a huge grin on his face. I can't remember exactly what I said, but it wasn't pretty. That punk kid didn't even have a dog in the fight.

I actually think you are worse at the movies than at sporting events. I'm really glad Tobey Maguire was not present at our screening of Spiderman 2. If there is something you don't like you aren't afraid to say it. I think you get that from our dad who frequently heckles the preacher on Sunday morning.

And let me just say that David Garrard calling his annual colonoscopy "wonderful" was the low point of my day. . .

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Legal and Illegal

New opinions are surfacing about the Harrison case.

Mike Freeman says Marvin is wrong just for owning the kind of gun he owns.

Sal Paolantonio thinks Marvin is wrong for living where he lives.

Both men are incredibly wrong.

Let's be clear: If Marvin Harrison shot someone for any reason other than imminent self defense, he should go to prison.

If Marvin Harrison gave his gun to someone else to fire it for any reason other than imminent self defense, he should go to prison.

But if Marvin Harrison is guilty of living in a violent inner city neighborhood and legally owning a registered firearm, then his critics need to get a life. It is a normal thing for a man to want to live near his family and friends. No matter how rich someone is, he has a right to live where he wants and run whatever kind of legal businesses he wants. Harrison's gun might have been used in a crime. It might have been used in self defense. Harrison may have acted reasonably; he may have been negligent; he may have been murderous. These are the only issues. Anything else is just self-righteous blather.

Arguing that there is no reason to own such a gun as Harrison's is like arguing that there is no reason to own a Lamborghini or a Porsche. In one sense that's true. A 1970 VW Bug will get you to work just the same, but rich people tend to like nicer, fancier versions of everything. Those that like cars own nicer cars. Those that like to cook have deluxe kitchens even though the old Sears range will boil water just the same. Some people like guns. Personally, I don't. I have moral reasons for disliking firearms and not owning one. Those are my issues and choices, however. Harrison likes guns. He is rich, therefore he likes expensive tricked out guns. That is neither surprising, nor illegal, nor inherently immoral or stupid.

He's guilty or innocent based on what he did or didn't do. Not based on where he lived and what kind of gun he chose to legally own and carry. A shooting isn't any more evil or heinous if the gun is a small pistol or a crazy Belgian hand cannon.

Demond Sanders: Well said. This is a ridiculous effort from Mike Freeman. I'm actually kind of shocked that Kravitz let Freeman beat him to this kind-of-obvious-totally-unfair-jump-to-conclusions column.

In other news, the ad wizards have combined two of my favorite things: Indy car racing and Indiana Jones. Yes, I will be rooting for Marco Andretti's #26 car on May 25th.

DZ adds: I'll add Prisco's piece to the end of this. He sort of gets off track when he talks about Harrison sitting alone on the bench (he does it when he's caught 3 TDs. He does it when he's got 2 catches for 13 yards), but he does do a mostly credible job of basically saying, "We have no idea who this guy is." The first page is a little weird, but he rights ship on page two.

Get out and vote

Just a reminder to all Hoosiers who live in a cave...get out and vote today. Even if you are a registered Republican and don't have interesting national races, there are still local votes that are important. So, do your civic duty and all that.

My recap of last night's trip to the 'Nati replete with details of my shouting match with Cubs fans in bleachers will be forthcoming. I'm just waiting on the the photos...

In links:
Scoop Jackson writes about KG. Why would I link this? Scroll down toward the end, and you'll find it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Baker the Butcher

Ok, so that's a little unfair as titles go, but I went for wit over accuracy. Still as the Reds continue on their SECOND 5 game losing streak in recent weeks, my Opening Day frustrations look downright prescient. 5 game losing streaks are especially significant to me because they mean your entire rotation failed to get a win. During this little run, the Reds got 2 awful starts, 2 brilliant starts, and 1 solid start (which was done in by a terrible bullpen performance). In other words, the Reds pitching hasn't been great, but even when it has it seems to make little difference. As I've said about twice a week since the season started: THIS TEAM CAN'T HIT. I'm not sure that it's Dusty Baker's fault that Griffey and Dunn aren't playing well. I do know it's his fault that Cory Patterson is on the roster and a lead off hitter who has an on base % of under .270 will brutalize any offense. The 'win now' plan isn't going to happen this season so it's quite frankly time to bring up Bruce and Baily and get on to the business of prepping this team for next year. It's not all gloom and doom, there is talent on the roster and in the organization, but it doesn't seem like it's being managed very well. Of course that's what happens when you fire your GM 15 games in.

I'm heading to the park tonight to see Johnny Franchise (who still has a great WHIP and K/BB despite a ballooning ERA). I'll give a scouting report tomorrow.

In other news Peter King ranks the NFL teams. I think he's dead on about San Diego (Rivers is NOT a proven commodity), but is way too optimistic about Jacksonville. That team is has not gotten better than last year, and I think is primed for a serious regression. I do give him points for not buying Vince Young. He's exactly the kind of guy that King usually can't get enough of. In Colts news, PK things Harrison is in trouble (no reason, he just feels it-at least he's consistent) and Dungy won't coach past this year.

There's nothing new in the Harrison situation. Something tells me this story is not that high up on the police to-do list in Philly.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Now and then

So there's not a lot of new information on the Harrison case, but what there is seems different than what came out Friday. Friday's reports made it seem that somehow arrests were imminent, but now going on 5 days since the incident, there are still arrests, and the Philly cops have turned the case over to the DA because they are too busy to deal with it. The more you read about this case, the more it seems like police are probably wishing that a high profile guy wasn't involved because then it could go away. For a case in which no one was badly hurt in a neighborhood with lots of violence, it will now demand much more time from investigators.

A Philadelphia Inquirer piece now has other discrepancies with the original report broken by a Philly radio reporter on Friday:

On Friday it was reported that the gun fire was exchanged after Harrison chased a man into the parking lot of his bar. Now it appears that the shooting took place several blocks away.

Harrison is now said to have kicked the victim out of his bar 2 weeks ago, and they have been fighting since. Harrison admitted to getting into a fist fight with the man earlier in the day.

It was reported that a girl had been slightly hurt by flying glass. Now it's reported that it was a 2 year old boy.

It was unclear though not inaccurate in previous reports that police cannot confirm that there was a third victim. They received a call from a lawyer saying that he represented a man who was hurt and could finger Harrison. That is not confirmed and as of now, no one has accused Harrison of anything. Police are looking for this alleged victim.

The original victim first told police that he was hurt driving on the freeway, before changing his story. He has not identified Harrison.

The Inquirer is reporting that Harrison turned the weapon in question over to the police. It was reported on Friday that police found it in a bucket outside Harrison's carwash.

So from the original sensationalistic reports on Friday, we had one picture of what happened, now there is a slightly different one. The small detail changes may or may not make any real difference, but they are interesting to note.

The Inquirer has a profile piece on Harrison today.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fare thee well Bryan Fletcher

With conflicting reports still coming out about the Harrison saga (did anyone note how ESPN's coverage of the story changed as the night went along?) let's instead focus on stories we can verify. Bryan Fletcher and Dylan Gandy were cut yesterday. Fletcher had several key plays in the 2006 season, and perhaps caught the biggest pass of the AFC Championship game. He only had one grab that day, but it was for 32 yards to set the Colts up inside the Pats 50 with 2:01 to play. I'll never forget Ted Marchibroda semi-coherently trying to say, "There's a linebacker on him and it's a mismatch in favor of the tight end!" Fletcher was slight of build and never could figure out the blocking side of the game. As for Dylan Gandy, he couldn't beat out Charlie Johnson, so that should tell you something. Both players had to be nervous when the Colts brought in 3 new O linemen and two TEs.

Demond Sanders: The three-day Rookie camp just began on Friday, but the Colts must have already seen what they were looking for from the new guys.

In other news, Dale Earnhardt Jr. proves that underneath that firesuit beats the
heart of a little girl. I'm guessing Junior couldn't handle 220 mph. . .

Friday, May 2, 2008

Harrison questioned in shooting

Bet you never thought you would read that headline.

DZ Comments: I don't know what's more shocking, the headline or the fact that Marvin owns a bar. I'm disturbed by this.

Obviously we are waiting until further details are reported to truly weigh in on this. My gut says Marvin wouldn't risk tarnishing his legendary career unless he felt he or his friends were in danger.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

They really do matter...

I realize that telling Colts fans how important the undrafted free agents are is a bit obvious, but just in case anyone out there doubts it, check out this list from SI of the best pickups of the last decade or so (you can go back to see AV's picture with the Pats). I started you in the middle of the list for reasons that will be obvious when you see the picture. Also, check out this article about what the guys who don't get picked go through.

Mike Chappell also had a great piece on Marcus Howard. Mathis was also a 5th rounder, so this is an exciting pick. You have to figure that with his speed, Howard will be a good special teams player if nothing else (that's actually how Mathis made the Pro Bowl). In fact, I have a sneaky suspicion this kid will end up being better than at least one of the Jags first two picks.

FO has their annual draft poll out.

Here's one more draft evaluation I didn't see earlier. (fixed)

I can't wait for the season to start.