Archive for November, 2011

Monday Medley

What we read while being thankful for the stuff we bought on Black Friday…

Sleep No More: A Review

Sleep No More

That shit’s fucked up…

On Justin Verlander as MVP

Are starting pitchers valuable?

First off, I should say that I am not against starting pitchers winning the MVP award. In fact, I think Pedro Martinez’s loss in the 1999 race is one of the award’s greatest tragedies. With that said, I would very rarely vote for a starting pitcher to win the award, and I would not have voted for Justin Verlander this season.

Nevertheless, it’s strange to me that there is such a bias against starting pitchers winning the MVP. The logic generally used against them—that starters only affect one-fifth as many games as position players—seems wrong to me. To make a point Tim has made before: Starting pitchers affect fewer games, but their impact on those games is far greater than any one position player. In other words, starting pitchers affect far more at-bats than everyday players: In 2011 Verlander faced 969 batters this season—no position player has ever had more than 778 plate appearances in a single season.

So the reason I’m usually against voting for pitchers is the opposite of the normal logic; to me, if you treated starters and everyday players equally in MVP voting, a pitcher would win the award every year. After all, if you were building a team from scratch, wouldn’t your first pick be a starting pitcher almost every time? Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while Reagan’s ghost cleaned up the mess at UC-Davis…

Monday Medley

What we read while rioting in Happy Valley, resigning in Italy, and, um, what’s the third one?

  • NPI favorite Joe Posnanski finds himself in an awkward position, having moved to State College this fall to write his biography of Joe Paterno. Posnanski quasi-defends the coach at SI.

Defending the BCS (Again) [Yes, Again]

Like a snake eating its own tail, of course I have to respond to Tim’s response to my response to Dan Wolken’s response to the standard defense of the BCS. In his reply, Tim accused me of conflating his argument with “poorly conceived” arguments from “low-hanging fruit.” This time, therefore, I’ve decided to confine my response to Tim’s own words.

The main point Tim makes is this: “People dislike the BCS not because it’s different, but because it’s unfair.” As Tim says, I myself have admitted that it’s unfair. This is true, but Tim’s dilemma is false: People dislike the BCS both because it is unfair and because it is different. The essence of my point is that, because the BCS is different, it seems more unfair than it really is.

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The Double Bonus: Season Preview

The Double Bonus returns! With college basketball season officially underway–and Monday’s 24-hour marathon on ESPN being a reminder of how awesome college basketball is–John S and Tim return for their first ever in-person podcast! Together they break down their picks for each of the major conferences, discuss sleepers and POY candidates, and fondly reminisce about the good old days of the 2009 season. Click here to listen to the podcast that will change your life!

Monday Medley

What we read while sexually harassing Herman Cain back…

  • It’s about time someone explored why humans’ biggest potential foe is the octopus.
  • ESPN’s go-to SEC profiler Wright Thompson looks at one of the weekend’s big winners: Les Miles.

Attacking the BCS (Again)

Man, John…could you be more John? Way to seize upon the first regular-season game in five years to make the BCS look like a good idea and promote the hell out of your “let’s-take-it-to-absurdist-realms-and-then-see-how-you-like-it” point that the BCS is good because it’s different.* Once again, people dislike the BCS not because it’s different, but because it’s unfair. You’ve admitted this yourself.

*Methinks The Human Centipede made the same case on its own behalf.

Your pro-BCS screeds have taken on a pattern by now: you take a poorly conceived article from a member of the mainstream media, point out its flaws, conflate his vantage point with mine, and wonder if anyone writing such nonsense gets sports at all. You’re fortunate that 14 seasons of the BCS have provided you with plenty of chances to squash such low-hanging fruit; sportswriters are running out of ways to say the same thing each autumn. Last year, it was Dan Wetzel’s incorrect interpretation of college football rankings; this year, it’s Dan Wolken’s perplexing insistence that the hype surrounding LSU-Alabama is bad for the sport (since when is hype bad for a sport? Isn’t it about time Jay Caspian King wrote an article for Grantland saying the NFL should annex the SEC West since it lacks star teams?). Maybe next time attack a sportswriter not named Dan.

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Defending the BCS (Again)

LSU@Alabama: Vindicating the BCS

I don’t mean to rehash old debates (who am I kidding? Of course I do. This is a blog after all), but another college football season means another post where I attempt to defend the BCS. And, of course, this weekend’s LSU-Alabama game presents a great opportunity for such a defense. Saturday’s highly anticipated SEC showdown would not be nearly as important if the BCS were replaced with the playoff that so many, including my colleague Tim, desire: A game that will likely make one team’s season while breaking another would be effectively meaningless, since both teams would make any conceivable playoff even with one loss.

This type of game is unique: It’s exciting in a way that no other mid-season game, in any sport, is ever exciting. This is a GOOD thing. It’s asinine that fans of college football want to kill the best thing about the sport, but the collective fascination with the concept of a playoff makes people say crazy things. This is the only thing that could lead someone like Dan Wolken to use the Alabama-LSU game as a way to attack the BCS. Continue reading