Football! Week 8 Mid Season Standings

Time for the weekly update of the limited vocabulary of the Sunday NFL Countdown crew. If these guys learned a word other than “football,” we all might learn a thing or two.

Tom Jackson leading the way at the half way point with 73 uses of the word “football.” Way to go, Tom.

Tied in second place is Keyshawn Johnson and Coach Mike Ditka, who loves his “heckuva football players,” with 71 mentions.

Third place is Cris Carter, who may be the dumbest of all “analysts” and who half the time utters indistinguishable phrases, which could cause one to miss a “football” here an there.

Taking up the rear is Berman, who actually talks the most out of any of the “analysts,” but other than his league high 19 mentions in Week 5, a tribute filled week to Al Davis, Berman really doesn’t use the term that much.

So way to go, guys, keep throwing those footballs, catching those footballs, playing good football, and playing football on the football field.

Also worth a mention, Mark Schlereth is easily the worst when it comes to saying “football,” with Merrill Hoge not far behind. The only thing is, Hoge at the very least gives off a semi-intelligent demeanor. If you watch any segment with Mark Schlereth, you are guaranteed to hear “football” at least 5 times along with my favorite quote, “the further you are away from the ‘football,’ the less you know.”

Another week, another Texas Ranger being the best player in the universe

Gregg Doyel submits today’s well thought out and insightful article. (Read: not insightful, nor well thought out)

In this masterful piece he introduces my favorite new term, “sabermetric hipster.”

ARLINGTON, Texas — The older baseball guys love Michael Young. The mainstream media, the grizzled vets, the baseball lifers. They love him. To them, he’s a great player, a clubhouse leader, a potential Hall of Famer.

Michael Young is a potential Hall of Famer just like anyone who plays professionally is a potential Hall of Famer. He has the potential because he has picked up a bat in the major leagues, beyond that, he is not a Hall of Famer.

The younger baseball guys don’t love Michael Young. They don’t hate him, but they don’t love him. They esteem him, nothing more or less. To them — the bloggers, the hipsters, the sabermetricians — Young is a good player, maybe even a very good player, but he’s not all that. He’s damn sure not a potential Hall of Famer.

You caught me, Gregg! I wear red beanies and jeans that are way too tight for me as I ride my skateboard and blog at the same time. But let’s take a look at why Michael Young is not a Hall of Famer. He is 35 and has a career WAR of 30.7, a lifetime OPS of .801, and a terrible fielder.

I’ll hypothesize as to why you think he is a potential Hall of Famer. 2,000+ hits!!!!! OMG! Let’s use an arbitrary number to assess whether someone is worthy of being named one of the best baseball players of all time!

Michael Young played, errr, batted, very well in 2011. No doubt this was aided by the fact that his BABIP and OBP were 30 points above his career average and his SLUG% was 23 points above his average. Sure, variance is to be expected, but he is 35 and can’t field any position, I smell a regression and less playing time very soon!

I’m telling you this for a variety of reasons, most notably this one: Michael Young had one of the biggest hits in the absolute biggest game, to date, this season. He had the leadoff double in the eighth inning Monday night, a shot into the gap in right-center that started the Rangers‘ tiebreaking rally in Game 5 of the World Series.

Let me get this straight, you wrote this entire article just because Michael Young hit a double?

Which brings me back to my plot line — Young’s role, for lack of a better word, in the evolution of the game’s coverage. His place in the conversation between the two camps of baseball media: old vs. new, mainstream vs. sabermetrics. Michael Young isn’t just straddling the fault line. He is the fault line. Him and Derek Jeter, I suppose, but Jeter is fading and the Yankees didn’t make it past the first round this year, whereas Young had one of the better seasons of his potential (?) Hall of Fame career and is here in the World Series — and delivering the second-biggest hit of Game 5, the rally-starting double that led to Napoli’s game-winning double that has the Rangers one victory from the title.

Unless Derek Jeter somehow killed every member of the media’s wife and children, he is by no means “the fault line.” Derek Jeter is 5th amongst active players in WAR, 1st amongst shortstops, not counting Alex Rodriguez, and has won a billion championships/gold gloves, which shouldn’t matter, but for some idiotic reason, does. Sabermetrics hipsters and the media love him.

Just for a quick little comparison, when Derek Jeter was 35, his OPS was .871, and he played SS for 150+ games. Michael Young’s OPS was .854.

I’m probably going to generalize some stuff along the way — I probably already have — but that’s what both sides of this argument deserve. They’ve been guilty of generalizing as well, shoehorning Young into this box or that one, as if he’s a one-dimensional character in some bigger drama.

Am I generalizing how undeserving of the HoF Michael Young is? I think not. This article can be summed up in a few sentences, why are you still writing…? Unless you maybe want to take a stand?

And he’s not. He’s just a guy who gets a lot of hits and drives in a lot of runs, but also complains a lot when he’s asked to move positions, something Young is asked to do because he’s so dreadful at almost every position he has ever played. Including first base. How many former shortstops can’t even beat out a catcher, Napoli, at a relatively easy position like first base? That’s Young, who was the designated hitter in Game 3 because Rangers manager Ron Washington preferred Napoli — the heavier, slower catcher — at first.

Doesn’t seem like a very strong case for a potential Hall of Fame career.

Anyhow, Young’s a complex case. He hits the ball like a star, getting to 2,000 career hits faster than all but 10 players since 1900.

Read that sentence again.

I read it over and over and over, and all I took away is how stupid you are for using hits as a metric to measure how good a player is. Young is not a complex case. He gets a lot of at bats and in those at bats, he “hits it where they ain’t” at an above average rate. Does he get on base at an extraordinary rate? (Hint: No) Does he hit for an extraordinary amount of power? (Hint: Given his position, No)

But those are stats — hits, RBI — that have been devalued in today’s age of sabermetrics. Young’s WAR, according to FanGraphs.com, was a relatively skimpy 3.8. That was 29th in the American League, tied with Carlos Santana. And Carlos Santana hit .239 this season.

Pick a side, Gregg. All you have done so far is say that there is a debate about Michael Young.

And if a hotheaded irrational like me is calling something unseemly … well, think about it.

And think about this: Young has 2,061 career hits and 917 RBI, and he turned 35 only last week, and he keeps himself in magnificent shape. He has played at least 155 games nine times in the past 10 years, reaching 135 the other year, and he just produced his sixth 200-hit season. He’s not going away. If he stays healthy, he’ll approach 3,000 hits, and if he gets there, he’ll be a Hall of Fame shoo-in. Baseball traditionalist, sabermetric hipster, I don’t care what side of the fault line you fall: You vote a guy with 3,000 career hits into the Hall of Fame.

Apparently, you don’t. The title of that article is called, Biggo very good, but Hall of Fame great? No. Gregg, you wrote that article! Do you know how many hits Craig Biggio has? 3,060. Waiiit just a minute. Because you have yet to side with the Baseball traditionalists or sabermetric hipsters (a term I take great offense to, because I hate hipsters), you don’t have to abide by the 3,000 hit rule.

“Because Biggio is not a Hall of Fame player.”

I’m sure that article is pretty stupid, but I don’t want to read any further.

You just do, unless you don’t. Unless Michael Young becomes the first player in history to reach that number and fall short. Hey, one of these days, someone will fall short. That’s a guarantee. Used to be 1,500 career RBI was a Hall of Fame benchmark. Get there, and you’re in. The first 36 guys to get there, got in.

Stop choosing arbitrary, dumb numbers to guarantee a spot in the Hall of Fame, just stop it. You know what those 36 guys probably (and I say probably because I am too lazy to look it up, but it is pretty much a guarantee) have in common? They are better fucking players than Michael Young, and were so through age 35.

And then Harold Baines got there. He was No. 37 to reach that number, and he finished with 1,628 RBI, and he’s not in the Hall of Fame. He’s not even close, never receiving more than 6.1 percent of the vote in his five years on the ballot.

And Harold Baines shouldn’t be in there.

Maybe Michael Young becomes the Harold Baines of 3,000 hits. Maybe the hipsters will win this war over WAR. Maybe they should win. I don’t know which school of thought, old or new, is the better one to analyze a baseball player. I don’t pretend to know the answer to that question.

You don’t know whether it is better to measure the individual accomplishments of a player using statistics or made up shit like clubhouse leadership and gumption? Why don’t you try taking a side and then writing an article.

Football! Week 7 Tim Te-blows Edition

Week 7’s update of how often the hosts of Sunday NFL Countdown needlessly say the word, “football.”

Other Highlights:

Tom Jackson says that if Philip Rivers wants a big play, he’ll go after Antonio Rodgers because Antonio is having trouble moving side to side… Or maybe, just maybe, his other option is to get a big play against THE BEST CORNERBACK IN THE NFL.

Does anyone actually watch “Stop It!”? It is one of the stupider gimmicks on Countdown, and that is saying something.

Apparently Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton play on different teams. All the hosts keep talking about how this is the worst team Tim Tebow has been a part of in his career. Heaven forbid someone points out that Kyle Orton had to play on the same piece of crap team that Tebow is about to run further into the ground.

Bill Parcells – They (Oakland) gave up almost their entire first round next year.
I’d say by trading away their only first round draft pick in 2012, the Raiders absolutely gave up their entire first round next year.

Keyshawn when talking about Tim Tebow – “It’s going to be tough to win when you can’t hit the side of a bus.”
Full disclosure, I wouldn’t normally watch Countdown, I only do it for this post, but Keyshawn is actually funny and clearly thinks before he speaks more often than the other morons.

Poor Don Larsen

Someone has to call the hyperbole police on Scott Miller because he is not aware that pitchers play in the World Series..

ARLINGTON, Tex. — On a warm and windy night in a football state, Albert Pujols turned sepia-toned. Right before our very eyes, he did. Stepped straight from the baseball diamond and into the ages.

What we saw in Game 3 of this crazy World Series was only the greatest performance, ever, in a World Series game. The final score was beside the point (Cardinals 16, Rangers 7, for the record). This was about one man, history and his place in it.

I’m sorry, I know 1956 might be a bit before your time, but Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the World Series. No one has ever matched that feat.

That man was not Matt Holliday.

Nor was it Allen Craig, or David Freese, or Elvis Andrus, or… you get the point. This is just a stupid line.

Because on a warm and windy night in a football state (you already told us that), baseball history shuffled its deck. Pujols stepped straight from the World Series into the scrapbooks.

He matched Ruth and Jackson as the only players ever to smash three home runs in one World Series game.

He equaled Paul Molitor as the only player ever to punch out five hits in one World Series game.

He became the only player ever to rack up 14 total bases in a World Series game.

So what you are telling us is that Pujols did something that a handful of players have done before, maybe not all at once, but still. I am not saying that what he did wasn’t remarkable, it was, but he didn’t throw a perfect game and therefore did not turn in the greatest World Series performance of all time.

Angels in the outfield? Try Muhammad Ali in the infield. The Greatest, bar none.

Watch yourself, Scott. Angels in the Outfield is one of the best 90’s Disney sports movies of all time, just like Albert’s performance in Game 3, one of the greatest of all time.

Not fair, Pujols charged. He was in the clubhouse kitchen. Nobody sent word to him that his presence was desired.

Yeah, well, Alexi Ogando, Mike Gonzalez and Darren Oliver tried going into his kitchen Saturday. He deep-fried them to a crisp.

Is that necessary?

Wherever the truth is, and whatever was said, he could not have changed the conversation more dramatically.

He could have pitched a perfect game…

Our kids will be watching old video footage of Pujols’ three-homer World Series game just like we hung on old footage of Reggie Jackson’s.

Our grandkids will listen to the legend of Pujols the way we once devoured the legend of Ruth.

Or how we devoured Don Larsen’s perfect game.

Mr. October, meet Senor Octubre.

You are not going to win over your Hispanic readers if you don’t use the tilde over the N, Scott.

The Babe, meet El Hombre.

Don’t you mean, El Pujols?

Pujols always has done his best talking on the field, anyway. That’s what the Cardinals pay him for, and that’s what suitors wooing him on the free agent market this winter will attempt to pay him for. Sure, the Cardinals like to brag about how good he is in the community, too. But let’s get this straight: They’re not paying him to kiss babies, shake hands and smile pretty. Otherwise, he would have been at his locker chatting the other night.

I thought that was because no one told him his presence was desired… You’re not making sense, Scott.

Best game in World Series history?

No.

“I think the best thing to do is, you make that statement and ask somebody, OK, show me one that was better,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “I think it would be hard to do.”

Impossible, is more like it.

Don Larsen, is more like it.

Tim McCarver Talking

“Left handed swings are so different from right handed swings.”

Sportscenter Lowlights 10/19 – Herm Edwards love the word “football”

If only i had a pitch counter that went out an extra digit, then I might have been able to count how many times Herm said “football” this morning.

However, Herm did make sense on this one…
“He (Carson Palmer) is someone that can throw down the football field.”

Now, normally, this is something that I would be all over. For example, no shit he throws it down the football field, because he plays football, a sport which is played with a football, on a field that has specific dimensions only to be used for football.

However, the Raiders play their home games at O.co stadium, or whatever it is these days, which they share with the A’s, so… it doubles as a baseball field! Way to go, Herm! You saved everyone from thinking that Palmer was going to step on the mound and throw the “football” towards home plate.

Football! Week 6, the “I’m not a big numbers guy” edition.

And now it’s time for the Week 6 update of the limited vocabulary of the hosts of Sunday NFL Countdown, also known as, how many times Boom, TJ, Key, CC, and Ditka say “football” unnecessarily.

A new graph this week, which I feel is more efficient in conveying the data.

Berman with another strong week. Also, when talking about the breakout performers, I’m almost certain that Ditka always mentions that the player he chooses is a great “football” player.

Other highlights:

1. Tom Jackson – “I’m not a big numbers guy.”
That’s good, because it’s not like your title is an analyst for a sport with many readily available statistics.

2. “Eagles Offseason Moves:
Vince Young – 0 Games Played”
No kidding, he is the backup quarterback who was injured for the first 4 weeks of the seaon…

3. After Berman distinctly  says that the Eagles lead the league in turnovers:
Bill Parcells – “Well, they lead the league in turnovers, as you alluded to…”

al·lude[uh-lood]

verb (used without object), -lud·ed, -lud·ing.

1. to refer casually or indirectly; make an allusion  (usually followed by to ): He often alluded to his poverty.

4. Tom Jackson on the Eagles linebackers – “They don’t know how to play football.”
I’m not sure about that, Tom. They play in the National Football League, as I’m sure you are aware, so I feel like they might know how to play Football!

5. Cris Carter – “Romo has the clutch gene”
Oy vey.