Posted on April 11th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Stuff.

For the last two or three weeks, I plunged into Field Gulls ("The stupidest name in smart football analysis"). It's heady; I didn't know there was a smart Seahawks site, and this one is very smart.

I will be back very soon. I'm not going away.


comment to ESPN

Posted on March 6th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Sports, Stuff.

You know, Darren Sharper is a loathsome man. Yet, only in America will the likelihood that he will be raped in prison get a laugh. In fact, that joke is so predictable, it's sobering. We should be appalled that everybody assumes that anyone sentenced to prison also means sentenced to be raped.


also, blount: your opinion about lynch not talking is really stupid

Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Sports, Stuff.

I wrote a letter to ESPN. I would have posted it but ESPN requires posters to have Facebook IDs, and that is not going to push me over to having Facebook membership*.

Dear ESPN:**

I guess you consider your blog area a way of involving your readers. Most of your team blogs sometimes have a Mailbag, for instance. And your team blogs usually feature a writer who is knowledgeable about the team, and works hard, especially when the audience keenly wants to know, such as the pre-draft Combine.

Most of ESPN's team bloggers are up to the task, writing good pieces how their team approach the Combine, asking their audience for questions, etc. You would think that the Seahawks' blogger, Terry Blount, would dive in. There are lots of Seahawks fans. We want information. You would think catering to Seahawks fans would be easy. After all, Super Bowl Champs.

When ESPN team bloggers are catering to their audiences, Terry Blount is spending five days on "top defensive plays" in the last year. Not one day: five days, one play per day.

We know these plays. They're, you know, obvious. That's the column you write when you are stuck for a column. Hey, Terry: there's a Combine going on.


* If eventually I have to get a membership in Facebook to vote, that might do it.

** There's a 1000-character limit*** for writing to ESPN. So I didn't write "Dear ESPN:" But I wanted to, because I'm polite.

*** or 7.14 tweet-limit (approximately)

1 comment.

sam? footnote.

Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Media, Sports, Stuff.

I sent a tweet to Andrew Sharp -- the Grantland guy who sometimes writes hilarious, awful "attempt[s] to write the worst sports column on earth" under the hashtag #HotSportsTakes (a parody -- I assume -- of the dim Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith columns on ESPN):

Soren deSelby Bowen ‏@ScrapsDeSelby
@andrewsharp I'm waiting for a #HotSportsTakes about J Collins, outmaneuvering M Sam: now Collins will make history, and Sam? Footnote. :-)

(Oh, I hope somebody will be stupid enough to say it. Because many people will think it. And if people will say it {out loud}, you can bet they will use the "political correctness" defense. (Silent 25% nixon majority: solemn agreement, solemn agreement.)



Posted on February 3rd, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Stuff.

Right now I'm wallowing in the Seahawks championship; probably going to wallow for at least forty-eight hours. And then I'm going to wallow for two hours more. Then I'll see if there's any more wallowing to do.

Happy happy happy.


beckett tattoo

Posted on January 26th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Quotes, Sports, Words, Writers.

Reading about the Australian Open winner, Stanislas Wawrinka, a first-time major winner, I read that he has a Samuel Beckett tattoo on his left forearm. It's one of my favorite Beckett quotes: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

I think Stanislas Wawrinka is my favorite player all of a sudden.


anticipatory farewell to jim schwartz. forever*. (or: an amazing stat)

Posted on December 27th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Stuff.

Bill Simmons says: "[The Lions] hired 13 head coaches since 1964 — not including the soon-to-be-fired Jim Schwartz, not one of those coaches landed another head coaching job."

If I moved to Detroit (a fantasy: nobody moves to Detroit**), I would stop being an football fan***: like being a coach of Detroit Lions, it's the last job you will find.

* okay: probably.

** that's not a shot at Detroit, like the shots that people take at Cleveland or Pittsburgh, mostly taken by people who have never been there (Joke Lite, no clown calories). I've never been to Detroit, but I like the name. Anyway, it's a reference to its steadily declining population: from 1.8 million in 1950 to 713,777 in 2010 (just the city, not the metro area). Even in ten years (2000-2010) the city's population fell by 25%. When I was a child, Detroit was 5th in population (behind New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia: the five cities in America that had a million people [in the seventies Houston joined them]). Detroit has fallen to 18th (again, the city, not the metro area).

*** I think I could still be a fan of the careers of Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson.


a little test for sportswriters

Posted on November 26th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Sports, Stuff.


Flacco didn't hide his dislike of the Wildcat when he lined up at wide receiver. He was so disinterested that he kept his hands in his front pouch and barely moved off the line after the ball was snapped.

Now. Substitute "Dez Byrant" for "Joe Flacco". Watch the sportswriters salivate.


ed reed: moving up my favorite football players list

Posted on November 20th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Words.

Ed Reed last week was waived from the Houston Texans:

"[Critics] are looking for every reason to put everything on Ed Reed," Reed said. "That's funny. That's funny to me. And it's kind of funny that I'm speaking in the third person about that."


no, really? he's a small man? get out!

Posted on October 25th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Stock Phrases, Stuff.

"I think he just wants to flex his power," [Cliff] Bennett says. "He has small (man's) syndrome. I still talk to guys who are there, and trust me, there's not much respect for him in that locker room."

Cliff, why do you reference Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano's height when running him down? Many, many tall men casually flex their power, but you wouldn't refer to their height (well, maybe if he's seven feet tall). But if a short person "flexes their power", you hear it endlessly. It's cliché-psychoanalyzing. It's teeth-grindingly tiresome. As a short man (no, really? get out!), you have to behave like a short person should: deferential, always.

Greg Schiano's behavior is awful. To tie it into his height is a distraction when you should be zeroing in on the real problem: He's a classic, over-the-top boorish example of Football Coach's Syndrome.


defense lawyer has work cut out*

Posted on August 16th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Badness, Sports, Stuff.

Jerry Remy's** son has pleaded not guilty for murdering his girlfriend after he was released from custody for allegedly assaulting her:

[P]rosecutors described a brutal and determined attack, saying Remy assaulted Martel in the kitchen, living room, on a stairway and then pinned her to the ground in the patio where he stabbed her several times. Neighbors who tried to help Martel were driven back when Remy slashed at them [. . .] Remy was arrested at the scene, his clothes soaked in the victim's blood.
[. . .]
Remy has a violent criminal history, including a total of 15 criminal charges since 1998, according to Waltham court records. He has been accused of assaulting five people -- including four women -- and was involved in at least three restraining orders, including one in which he was the plaintiff.
[. . .]
His attorney, Peter Bella, said he was trying to figure out what happened leading up to Martel's stabbing, pointing out that his client had what could be described as defensive wounds. He called her death a tragedy.

"Defensive wounds"? Okay, he has to defend this guy, but if he succeeds in getting him off ("neighbors who tried to help Martel were driven back when Remy slashed at them"), he's brilliant.

* headline-ese is sometimes really awful
** former Red Sox second baseman and current broadcaster


from a piece that's actually a pro-Kansas-City-Chiefs perspective; or, my god!*

Posted on August 11th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Stuff.

Bill Barnwell, from a Grantland piece:

The Chiefs should also be better in the red zone, where they were truly dreadful last year. Just 27 percent of Chiefs possessions that made it to the red zone produced a touchdown, the lowest rate in the league by a staggering margin. Arizona was in next-to-last place, but at 40 percent, they were closer to 18th-place Minnesota than they were to last. The 27 percent figure is the worst since at least 2003, the point at which TeamRankings no longer holds red zone data[.]

That's astonishing.

* By the way: some of the time, I'm going to cover sports, even though almost nobody in Parlando's audience likes sports. I figure that Category: Sports up there will warn away people who dislike sports, and I hope they stick around for not-sports action. (Oh, and Rob: [if you never pointed toward Grantland]**, I think you would like it.

** Language, man.


kyle petty, moron

Posted on August 6th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Sports, Words.

Now, it's not me who said that; it's Denny Hamlin.

(Who's Kyle Petty and Denny Hamlin? Hamlin is a NASCAR driver, and Petty is a ex-driver, now employed by Fox Sports as an analyst.)

Kyle Petty admits he was wrong about Hamlin in this particular case (and it doesn't matter to my post). But Petty does not apologize for voicing his opinions:

"Sometimes I find myself the lone dissenting voice in this sea of political correctness, and I don't think everything has to be politically correct. Facts are facts, and honestly, it's just my opinion. I don't think that any of us -- me, Kyle Petty, media, the drivers, NASCAR, track owners, we aren't all right all the time. We don't all live in a utopian society where everything is perfect. There are things that need to be examined, that need to be called out, and I seem to be the only one that says it. That's the only way I've always been. It's just my opinion. It's just my question. Its questions that have to be asked. Just as it's their job to go out and drive the race car and do what they do, it's not our job to ask if they went fishing or went to the Bahamas and just ask the fluff. It's our responsibility to inform the fan base.''

Isn't he great? Let's give Kyle Petty a big hand!


on defense and variability

Posted on August 22nd, 2009 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Stuff.

David Appleman wrote a post at the excellent baseball blog Fangraphs about Mark Teixeira and defense. Fangraphs is one of the best blogs about quantifying defense, especially their creation Ultimate Zone Rating. Appleman is replying to the New York Times sportswriter Tyler Kepner, who wrote:

I say off the charts because I’m convinced there is no chart that accurately measures defense. The attempt is a noble one; defense is easily the most underrated ingredient in how games are won. But I don’t fully accept it.

People often cite Ultimate Zone Rating, a metric that tries to measure range and errors and how they affect runs allowed or prevented. But how can that statistic be valid when it says Teixeria has had a negative defensive impact?

Appleman says that in fact UZR has historically showed Teixeria to be excellent; it's just this year that Teixeria measures out at average. Appleman spends time pointing out that the previous first baseman for the Yankees, Jason Giambi, was awful, and maybe that skews Kepner's perception. That's true -- even Kepner admits the possibility -- but as always, defense discussions and metrics frustratingly (to me) leave something big out:

The offensive baseball stats, both those widely-accepted and those not, understand that sometimes baseball players slump, even for whole seasons. Yet defensive stats are called out for anything that "sounds wrong", and dismissed thereby. Maybe Mark Teixeria, most of time an excellent player, is having, this year, a mediocre year defensively. I assume that defensive stats are as much subject to variability as offensive stats. It's wrong to write off a metric just because one year it doesn't tell you what you expect.


my favorite sitcom has been canceled

Posted on April 18th, 2008 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Stuff.

Isiah Thomas has been fired* as the coach of the New York Knicks, ending the most inexplicably protracted reign of incompetence and absurdity I can remember in all my time following sports. I'll miss him.

* Actually, he still hasn't exactly been fired; he's been relieved of his coaching duties, but is still being kept with the organization in an undefined capacity.


two limericks for felix hernandez

Posted on April 16th, 2008 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Words.

Seattle Mariners Venezuelan phenom Felix Hernandez is much celebrated at USS Mariner; in fact, they gave him the nickname King Felix by which he is nationally known. Every day he pitches is "Happy Felix Day" at USS Mariner. Today limericks broke out. I contributed two:

All hail the young King from Caracas.
His eminence never should shock us.
When he mixes his pitches
He leaves batters in twitches
And our cheers can be heard in Secaucus.

But then I discovered he's actually from Valencia. You can't rhyme much with Valencia (or Venezuela) in English, so I came at it from a different angle:

A Valencian monarch named Felix
Has an extra-high-powered double helix.
Hitters flail at his flings
And their once-mighty swings
Are reduced to limp, impotent wee licks.

Happy Felix Day!


horsing around

Posted on January 20th, 2008 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Words.

A gem from the always poorly copy edited

Carmelo Anthony saddled up to Allen Iverson late in the fourth quarter and told him they needed to put an end to this game.

1 comment.

how to trivialize a story with one word

Posted on February 2nd, 2007 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Sports, Words.

ESPN is running a story about ex-New England Patriot linebacker Ted Johnson's concussion related health problems from a front page link with the headline "Ex-Pats linebacker blames Belichick for depression".

Within the story, we discover what "depression" means:

Ted Johnson said coach Bill Belichick subjected him to hard hits in practice while he was recovering from a concussion -- against the advice of the team's top trainer. [...] [A]fter sustaining additional concussions over the next three seasons, he now forgets people's names, misses appointments and suffers from depression and an addiction to amphetamines. [...] After returning to game action, the linebacker sustained more concussions of varying severity over the following three seasons, each of them exacerbating the next, according to his current neurologist, Dr. Robert Cantu. Cantu told the Times he was certain that Johnson's problems "are related to his previous head injuries, as they are all rather classic postconcussion symptoms." He added, "They are most likely permanent." Cantu, the chief of neurosurgery and director of sports medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass., also said Johnson shows signs of early Alzheimer's disease. "The majority of those symptoms relentlessly progress over time," Cantu said. "It could be that at the time he's in his 50s, he could have severe Alzheimer's symptoms."

I wonder how many ESPN visitors see the link, roll their eyes at the idea of an ex-player blaming a coach for depression, and don't read the piece.


creative use of euphemism

Posted on October 15th, 2006 by Scraps.
Categories: Editing, Sports, Words.

from the ESPN story about the suspension of the Raiders' Jerry Porter:

One player suggested the Raiders "were looking for an excuse [to sanction Porter], and Jerry kind of [unwittingly] gave" them one. But, said the player, "it's kind of a [horsefeathers] move if they're basing it just on what he said [Friday]."


variations on a theme by bill james

Posted on August 24th, 2006 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Sports, Words.

New York Met Julio Franco is my favorite player. He turned 48 today, and is not only still playing but is still an important part of his team.

Julio Franco has been around a while. Julio Franco played with Mike Hargrove, you know. Not for, with. Julio Franco played with Toby Harrah and Andre Thornton. Julio Franco played with Bake McBride and Bert Blyleven and Steve Carlton.

Julio Franco played with Pete Rose.

Remember Neal Heaton? Neal Heaton played with Julio Franco. Neal Heaton is younger than Julio Franco. Brook Jacoby is younger than Julio Franco. Mel Hall and Joe Carter are younger than Julio Franco. Remember the great young Toronto outfield of the mid-80s? Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby, and George Bell are all younger than Julio Franco. All three of them have been out of baseball for more than a dozen years. Jimmie Key is younger than Julio Franco. Tony Fernandez is three years younger than Julio Franco. Cecil Fielder is five years younger than Julio Franco.

Alvin Davis is younger than Julio Franco. So is Jim Presley. Spike Owen, Harold Reynolds, Darnell Coles, Mike Moore, Mark Langston, Mike Morgan, and the late Ivan Calderon are younger than Julio Franco. Danny Tartabull is four years younger than Julio Franco. So is Edwin Nunez. Phil Bradley is younger than Julio Franco, and Phil Bradley has been out of baseball for sixteen years.

Don Mattingly is younger than Julio Franco. Henry Cotto is younger than Julio Franco. Did you know that Bob Melvin is younger than Julio Franco? Cal Ripken is younger than Julio Franco. Larry Sheets and Storm Davis are younger than Julio Franco. Rich Gedman and Oil Can Boyd are younger than Julio Franco. Mike Greenwell is five years younger than Julio Franco. So is Bret Saberhagen.

Mark Gubicza is younger than Julio Franco. Devon White and Dick Schofield are four years younger than Julio Franco. Mike Witt and Kirk McCaskill are younger than Julio Franco. Ozzie Guillen is five years younger than Julio Franco.

Bo Jackson is four years younger than Julio Franco.

Kent Hrbek is younger than Julio Franco. So are Greg Gagne and Tom Brunansky and the late Kirby Puckett. Frank Viola is younger than Julio Franco. Mickey Tettleton is younger than Julio Franco, and so are Curt Young and Steve Ontiveros. Jose Rijo is six years younger than Julio Franco.

Ryne Sandberg is younger than Julio Franco. Billy Hatcher is, too. Juan Samuel, Von Hayes, and Glenn Wilson are younger than Julio Franco. Remember Joe Orsulak, Marvell Wynne, Sid Bream? All younger than Julio Franco. Mike Scoscia is younger than Julio Franco, and so is Steve Sax. Mariano Duncan, Mike Marshall (the outfielder), and Candy Maldonado are younger than Julio Franco. Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hersheiser, and Tom Niedenfuer are younger than Julio Franco. Tom Browning and Nick Esasky are younger than Julio Franco.

There are at least six managers younger than Julio Franco: Ozzie Guillen, Bob Melvin, Mike Scioscia, Eric Wedge, Terry Francona, and John Gibbons.

Tony Gwynn is younger than Julio Franco. Andy Hawkins is younger than Julio Franco. Kevin Bass is younger than Julio Franco. Chili Davis, Jose Uribe, and Rob Deer are younger than Julio Franco. Matt Nokes and Dan Petry, too. Nelson Liriano is five years younger than Julio Franco. Manny Lee is six years younger.

(John Franco was still pitching last year at 45. He was the second-oldest Franco in the game.)

Steve Buechele is younger than Julio Franco. Oddibe McDowell is four years younger than Julio Franco. Terry Pendleton, Vince Coleman, and Andy Van Slyke are younger than Julio Franco. Willie McGee is younger than Julio Franco. Wally Backman, Howard Johnson, Daryl Strawberry, Ron Darling, Rick Aguilera, Roger McDowell, and Calvin Schiraldi are younger than Julio Franco. Lenny Dykstra and Sid Fernandez are four years younger than Julio Franco. Dwight Gooden is six years younger.

Jesse Orosco is not younger than Julio Franco.

I could go on, but I’m tired.

God bless Julio Franco.


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