Recent Comments by dfleming

A's Demote Closer Jim Johnson After 8 Games

Johnson had 9 blown saves last year - there were times he seemed tenuously holding on to his job as it is. That contract, particularly from the A's, was kinda nutty.

He reminds me a lot of Todd Jones' career where he certainly showed he could close but never was steady enough to give you the confidence to think he'll ride through rough patches and come out the other side.

posted by dfleming at 10:24 AM on April 11

Exceptionally Small Crowds Greet New Baseball Season

Baseball is becoming one-dimensional. All position players think they are home run hitters, and the days of players knowing how to actually hit, especially hit to all fields, is practically gone.

Wholeheartedly disagree. There have always been dead pull hitters, and there are still an exceptional number of truly pro hitters. Guys like Cabrera, Pedroia, Trout, McCutchen, Jeter, Posey, Votto, Cano, Molina - they all go the other way.

Jack Clark existed 20 years ago. The defences have shifted, but not because there are more pure pull hitters, but they've adjusted how they play 'em. The league average since 1972 has fluctuated between .255-.275, and while we're currently at a .256, you have to also take into account that the defences are much improved and players are more athletic today than ever.

posted by dfleming at 07:10 AM on April 11

Josh Hamilton Needs Thumb Surgery

Dude can't catch a break.

Well, I'd say he caught a $125m break a year ago, but I guess it's relative.

posted by dfleming at 11:30 AM on April 10

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Dallas Braden (the second worst pitcher to ever throw one)

Len Barker had a longer career, but he was pretty damn pedestrian. The way he progressed, Braden would've lapped his WAR had his career not gotten cut short at 27 due to injury.

posted by dfleming at 08:46 PM on April 07

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Meanwhile, can someone explain why anyone would use up $10.5 million of cap space on DeSean Jackson? Maybe college coaches will make it in the NFL, but one place they need to adjust to is playing their cards closer to the vest. You might as well cut him now Chip.

There's no downside - maybe you drum up a trade for a late round pick, maybe you don't. There are two teams who are desperate for playmakers (Raiders and Jets) who also have a ton of cap space - perhaps one of them blinks because they think the other will.

It's not like the Eagles are actively speaking about their attempts to trade him either - there are "NFL sources" and sources close to the player talking about it.

posted by dfleming at 09:50 AM on March 22

Cowboys Release DeMarcus Ware

Revis to the Patriots for 1 year, $12m. Probably a good number and a good term.

posted by dfleming at 09:11 PM on March 12

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Klesa's statement is pretty specious - he talks about "moving several times to new teams", but both moves were within 24 hours of one another and he didn't make this statement when he was heading to a playoff contender. He's had a tough year, but just call it like it is - you don't want to play hurt for a last place team.

posted by dfleming at 11:03 AM on March 09

Nets Sign First Openly Gay NBA Player

The Nets know Collins well - so the 10-day contract is likely for two reasons - one, given Glen Davis and/or Ron Artest have recently hit the open market (and perhaps because the Nets had an interest in Davis which only today they seem to have lost out on), there's no sense tying yourself to a guy with a fairly defined ceiling when someone else might come up in the next three weeks (waived, released, or via trade) - and two, to make sure that the layoff hasn't impacted his ability to contribute on the court.

posted by dfleming at 12:22 PM on February 24

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

You could say the same about the Canadians with Stamkos and Tavares - nobody was playing with a full deck, although the Canadians certainly have the depth to absorb key injuries.

posted by dfleming at 06:07 PM on February 23

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Homer Bailey joins the $100 million club. Somewhere, Brandon Phillips can be found shouting angrily into a pillow.

posted by dfleming at 06:17 PM on February 19

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Still, the honesty is refreshing.

I suspect the fact that Dempster was probably bullpen-bound anyways had something to do with it. After a lot of money's been made and the prestige is largely gone, there's not a whole lot left to play for if you miss your family. I suspect a lot of guys who retire could pitch middle relief for another year, but don't for similar reasons.

posted by dfleming at 10:46 AM on February 18

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I can understand that most of the stuff involving Martin could've been missed by staff (texts, strip clubs, etc. - not where the staff are) - but the assistant trainer stuff I can't. The head trainer knew about it, as did multiple Dolphins employees who witnessed it. The offensive line coach as also aware of some of what's going on overall.

So - Philbin gets praise for bringing a conduct manual with him, but has absolutely no responsibility or knowledge of whether or not the players are actually following it. That's bullshit. If you are the leader of an organization, you are responsible for what the players do. Good leadership is a reflection of your enforcing your values - bad leadership is this.

So Philbin, if he knew nothing about any of it, is a shit leader for having his passion for locker room conduct end at the printing of a manual.

posted by dfleming at 11:57 AM on February 14

Derek Jeter to Retire From Yankees After 2014 Season

A testament to a career well done when you have to specify WHICH outstanding out-of-field catch you're talking about.

posted by dfleming at 10:40 AM on February 14

Derek Jeter to Retire From Yankees After 2014 Season

Nope!

posted by dfleming at 10:24 AM on February 14

Derek Jeter to Retire From Yankees After 2014 Season

What other concessions should we make to Jeter's glory?

We'll still play out the playoffs, but the only way to win the World Series is to have a guy jump into the stands for a foul ball and come up with it. The MVP of each series will be Derek Jeter and the player who caught the ball will be forced to retire for copycatting Jeter.

Each 7th inning stretch will feature Minka Kelly being forced to cry on the pitcher's mound while the crowd sings "if you like it, you shoulda put a ring on it" before pelting her with pretzels.

posted by dfleming at 09:56 AM on February 14

Derek Jeter to Retire From Yankees After 2014 Season

Hall of Fame should bend their rules for Derek Jeter

What a braindead argument. Lou Gherig was dying. Joe was elected just as they were introducing these rules. There are a ton of romantic storylines in baseball just as worthy as this one, particularly if you're not a Yankee homer.

If this writer really want this, they should petition BBWAA writers to not vote Rivera in the first time so they can elect him with Jeter. Both guys are effectively getting a full year of send-offs, which is appropriate, and they'll both be first-ballot hall-of-famers, so I'm not sure they need THAT MUCH more pomp and circumstance to celebrate illustrious careers.

posted by dfleming at 09:43 AM on February 14

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Haslam's making a pretty compelling case for worst owner in NFL history (still not near worst human being who's owned a team, but at least Jerry and Al were successful at some point).

He's had, what, a year? Tough to come up with a case that passes Mike Brown or Dan Snyder in that time.

posted by dfleming at 04:06 PM on February 11

Missouri All-American Defensive Lineman Michael Sam Announces He Is Gay

I think he should be drafted by whatever team sign Ricky Incogneto. (media members heads explode)

For the record, Incognito actually tweeted support for Sam, although Richie I think is pretty heavily into "clean up my image" mode to get himself another job so the context is probably important there.

posted by dfleming at 02:55 PM on February 11

Missouri All-American Defensive Lineman Michael Sam Announces He Is Gay

I heard a scout talking about how, as an undersized DE, he was probably going to drop to the 3rd to 5th round anyways and how he might have to switch positions. Elvis Dumervil, despite all his college awards, went in the 4th round. That said - Dwight Freeney, who's the same height/weight as Sam, went 11th overall and obviously thrived. JJ Watt isn't the only model for how a DE can dominate in the NFL.

To me, if you're going to include the character/intangibles in your evaluation, a guy who's willing to be honest about who he is despite the fact it might hurt him financially through a drop in the draft has to get some points for that. He was out in the Miz locker room and his teammates seem overwhelmingly supportive (although cue a journalist finding someone who says something other than that.) This is a huge step forward and I hope he succeeds like hell in the NFL.

posted by dfleming at 06:34 AM on February 10

St. Louis Rams Owner Buys Land in Los Angeles

I am so fucking tired of sports owners holding cities hostage. The problem being a city who has the balls to say no is there's a city with a sleazy mayor somewhere ready to roll out the red carpet. It's negotiating with criminals who have your daughter tied up in a basement and a chopper on the roof.

posted by dfleming at 09:51 AM on February 07

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Andrew Bynum to the Pacers. I don't expect it to happen, but if the Pacers can get even 75% of Bynum's abilities night-in and night-out, that is some scary center depth.

posted by dfleming at 01:31 PM on February 01

Lawyer Reveals Martin's Texts to Incognito

One thing's for sure, I don't think it makes his behavior any more permissible.

Most people see a difference between a fight and an assault. There's differing agency involved.

Let's go back to the timeline of this whole affair - Martin leaves the team. His camp accuses Incognito of harassing him. They release a voicemail that is pretty damning to that end. Incognito is suspended.

Incognito's teammates report things like Martin laughing at that voicemail and that the two were actually friends.

This is a quote from Martin about the treatment he got:

"But of a personal, attacking nature, I don't think there's any place for that. I don't think there's a place to disrespect people in a professional sport."

They also used phrases like "malicious personal attacks."

So evidence that suggests that Martin was sending texts about killing Incognito's family suggests that he did exactly the same thing. Whatever happened mentally to him - he was a willing participant up to a point. He said shit that I wouldn't say to anyone else.

The point is that Incognito was painted by Martin as maliciously attacking him - when, in fact, this seems to corroborate his and other Dolphins' accounts that this is what they did to one another. So that, to me, changes this from an assault to a fight and the narrative around it has to change with it.

Also Martin's looking to return to the NFL (and has been doing interviews), so yes, I do think he owes the media an explanation.

posted by dfleming at 07:11 AM on February 01

Lawyer Reveals Martin's Texts to Incognito

It's a little rough that Incognito's lawyer released these texts to the public. I don't know how well it will play, because it is self-serving in the sense that it shows Martin in a bad light and because I think Martin's still entitled to his feelings.

Well - Incognito's been painted a bully, a label that might just end his career. Martin's texts, particularly the one after he left the team, are a completely different narrative than the one Martin himself painted of his relationship with Incognito.

So I guess I sympathize with what Martin's going through, but Incognito has a reputation and a career to try to save and these texts make it seem like perhaps it's not as simple as one guy bullying another past their breaking point.

posted by dfleming at 02:49 PM on January 31

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Media Day sucks, but people are still watching.

Just because the media cover it does not mean people are watching. The interviews are by far the worst part of SportsCenter because they're exactly the same, over and over again. My informal survey of people I know seems to get more of a kick out of Lynch than anything - the only ones who seem upset are the journalists.

posted by dfleming at 03:05 PM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Suck it up and continue to light cigars with hundred dollar bills. After all, the sports media is nothing more than the NFL's hype machine, especially Super Bowl week.

The media has been getting a ton of airtime through Lynch's refusal to be a willing participant in the theatre of sports journalism. They ain't hurtin'.

The vast majority of interviews are talking points and cliches. If you get too real (criticizing referees, the league, etc.) you get a fine. Richard Sherman gets called a thug by many for actually being emotional after a game. It's all bullshit, and I dig that Lynch is just calling it what it is.

posted by dfleming at 10:09 AM on January 30

Richard Sherman, the Man Behind the Mouth

It's possible his post-game rant is now one of the best PR moves ever. The publicity he has received, while not all positive, is publicity nonetheless. If he winds up shutting down Demaryius Thomas in the Super Bowl, his stock will be through the roof.

Exactly. Sherman's a guy who was top of his class everywhere he went - he understands what motivates him, and importantly, how the media circus can help you. The guy is setting himself up for the moment when his rookie contract ends for a huge payday. Be the biggest star in primetime and the world is your oyster. It's Deion Sanders all over again.

I think he also knows that a receiver with a huge ego who knows his QB isn't going to throw to him is liable to dog it a little or create issues on the opposing sidelines, making his job even easier.

posted by dfleming at 06:59 AM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Masahiro Tanaka Headed To Yankees On 7-Year, $155M Deal

Total value including transfer is $5m less than Verlander's deal. Stunning, really.

posted by dfleming at 02:20 PM on January 22

Ex-Agent: Ryan Leaf Blew Chance to Go No. 1

Of course, this assumes that Leaf was ever rated higher by the Colts than Manning, which I am sure nobody with a perceived future in talent identification would ever cop to.

posted by dfleming at 04:52 PM on January 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

You get a fine if you start your 4th line?

He was fined because he put Westgarth out there and who immediately dropped the gloves against Bieska who wasn't asking to fight.

posted by dfleming at 02:31 PM on January 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Goodell is musing about the potential for scrapping the extra point. Kickers around the league can finally see an end to the oppressive workloads of yore.

posted by dfleming at 01:27 PM on January 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Damnit, what sporting pelota am I thinking of then?

Lacrosse?

posted by dfleming at 01:14 PM on January 21

Seahawks Edge Niners

Justin Verlander gets his two cents in on Sherman - "If he played baseball, he would get a high and tight fastball." Somehow, a pitcher tough-guyying a football player just doesn't seem terribly impressive.

Especially the part where he goes on about Bowman and the way the fans treated him make him seem less like a nut and more like a smart guy who's figured out the media and how to mess with receivers' confidence.

posted by dfleming at 02:47 PM on January 20

Seahawks Edge Niners

He is an above average thrower with unbelievable foot speed, able to immobilize defenses by posing a throwing threat behind the line of scrimmage, and thus creating wide open spaces which he can then slide into for first downs and then some.

...and that's a problem why exactly? If it was so easy, Kaepernick would've had a lot more than 524 yards this season. Teams adjust, as Seattle did, and Kaepernick wasn't able to run as easily later in the game.

Also - that 58 yard run wasn't uncontested. There were hands on him behind the line of scrimmage and three other times. They missed tackles because he's tough to take down. How many times has Aaron Rodgers taken off on a broken play to get yardage or a first down? Fran Tarkenton?

I don't get why it's a problem that defences have to account for a QB who can run, other than a personal preference.

posted by dfleming at 06:48 AM on January 20

Seahawks Edge Niners

That TD throw from Kaepernick was sick. On the run, into basically zero room for error.

posted by dfleming at 08:42 PM on January 19

Seahawks Edge Niners

I hate it when Harbaugh's tantrums are justified, but that personal foul penalty after the 4th down in the 1st half on Carlos Rogers was baffling.

posted by dfleming at 08:31 PM on January 19

Broncos Overwhelm Patriots

That was one of the most thorough 10-point asskickings I have ever seen.

The Pats never got a hand on Peyton all day. Talib or no Talib, there is no way you're going to beat the 4 guys they're throwing to out there if Peyton's got 4+ seconds to throw the ball every down.

I thought the Pats were a 10-6 team when the season began, so getting this far was a bonus. They have a lot of big needs (#1 receiver yet again, Gronk/Wilfork to recover well and stay healthy, and a good solution to Talib's FA) but the emergence of a power running game made them a nice team. A D that sets the pace, rather than bending to the will of other teams, wouldn't hurt either.

posted by dfleming at 08:01 PM on January 19

Broncos Overwhelm Patriots

The Pats' D I think is finally one injury past being effective. There's nobody out there in a position to change the game anymore and Denver is just killing them all over the place.

posted by dfleming at 05:03 PM on January 19

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Bob Hartley's such a spineless prick. I have no love for Torts, but in post-game interview, Hartley tried to justify how well the 4th line played and how they even got a goal the last game. The inflection in his voice shows even he thinks that them scoring a goal is surprising.

They went out there, chirping and dropping the gloves the first second they could. If you are going to send guys out there to get punched in the face, at least have the stones enough to take the heat on yourself and not the players from all of the talk about how bad for the game that is.

posted by dfleming at 07:00 AM on January 19

Dodgers Drive Money Truck to Kershaw's House

And if Kershaw is still good then, he'll hopefully recall how the Dodgers treated him and keep them as first choice on any new deals.

I think the out clause really wrinkles it - you get 5 years worth of guaranteed performance for 7 years worth of risk. If Kershaw's worth $30m or more a year going into year 6, he opts out and takes more. If he's not, you're stuck with him at $30m per for two more years.

Kershaw got himself a great deal - he's more or less primed to be paid top dollar for the majority of his earning years. The contract he might get at 30 if he's still pitching at this level will be staggering.

posted by dfleming at 05:55 PM on January 16

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

His answer is a lot funnier than I thought it would be. Well done being human, Peyton-bot.

posted by dfleming at 06:25 AM on January 16

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Also curious Tacopina claims it's not a reference to Ortiz.

The guy knows the law around slander pretty well. A nameless, descriptive accusation, which he then denies is actually about the person is pretty well thought out. You leave the accusation out there with no ability for it to blow back on you.

Either that or he means Pedroia, who was quoted when A-Rod got suspended as it being good for the game.

posted by dfleming at 12:53 PM on January 15

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

If the punter or kicker doesn't have that protection, he will literally get his fucking neck broken out there.

Then have the punter run off the field if you don't want them to be part of the play. They could also be deemed ineligible and thus any impact they have on the end result of the return would be a penalty. But if they're an active participant defending kicks and even initiating contact, they run the risk of contact with other players. QB's lose their protection the second they become a runner - punters should lose theirs the second they stop kicking and start defending.

Terrance Garvin should've gotten a flag and did get a fine - but that would've been true no matter who he hit. It was an illegal hit.

posted by dfleming at 12:49 PM on January 15

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

From Tacopina's website:

""Mr. Tacopina is to the defense bar what Donald Trump is to real estate" - New York Times

Well, at least he is proud that he's the biggest dick in the defense bar.

posted by dfleming at 12:38 PM on January 15

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Not exactly a punt but close enough so I agree its curious teams don't have their backup QB spend time practicing punts.

Considering some of the quarterbacking done in this league, I think the last thing teams need are guys who aren't honing their one complicating craft before expanding into two.

To me, it'd be easier to draft and develop a different style of kicker (aussie rules style) who's not a total doofus when it comes to laying a guy out. Throwing quarterbacking into the mix seems a lot more complicated than throwing proper tackling in.

posted by dfleming at 12:43 PM on January 14

49ers Smother Panthers

Boldin could be getting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties every time he's thrown the ball right now. The refs are being beyond generous with the rope they're giving him.

posted by dfleming at 02:38 PM on January 12

Patriots Run Over Colts

I had these guys going to the SB.. and I hate Boston.

I am a Pats fan, and for some reason I just can't get over the number of big-time injuries they've had this year and how a shoe's left to drop at some point because of it. They've reinvented themselves, both on O and D, and their power running game is exactly what they needed post-Gronk to free up some space for the receiving core they have.

Going into Denver's a whole other thing than beating them at home - this season, the Pats' road wins were against Buffalo, Atlanta, Houston and Baltimore. They lost their other 4 games and struggled to point points up against stronger teams. As such, I am cheering like mad for the Chargers because I don't like the prospect of needing to go into Denver and put up a bunch of points against that team at home.

posted by dfleming at 12:02 PM on January 12

Rangers' Holland Tears Knee on Stairs

The Cubs curse gets creative, it seems.

posted by dfleming at 11:51 AM on January 12

Patriots Run Over Colts

I don't know what they've been putting in Blount's cheerios, but the last two games he's been a machine.

posted by dfleming at 10:47 PM on January 11

Patriots Run Over Colts

Devin McCourty needs to wake the fuck up quick. Two passes in a row he was caught flat-footed, and on the first TD he was absolutely zero help over the top.

posted by dfleming at 10:26 PM on January 11

Patriots Run Over Colts

Ryan Allen trying to compete with Marques Colston for the most brain-dead play of the day.

posted by dfleming at 09:29 PM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

How much money are the Yankees saving next year?

$24m.

posted by dfleming at 05:08 PM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

A-Rod's suspension has been reduced to 162 games.

posted by dfleming at 12:06 PM on January 11

Hall of Fame Admits Maddux, Glavine, Frank Thomas

Can someone please explain the case against Tim Raines? I'm at a loss.

Heck, Kenny Lofton, whose career numbers are very similar to Raines' (Raines has one WAR more throughout his career) couldn't even stay on the ballot. Relief pitching and stolen bases seem to be given significantly less value by BBWAA.

posted by dfleming at 12:41 PM on January 09

Hall of Fame Admits Maddux, Glavine, Frank Thomas

The fact that Alou, Nomo, Gonzalez, Gagne, Snow, Benitez, Jones, and Rogers all got votes suggests that there are some people who didn't take the process very seriously. If anyone voted for those names AND didn't fill their ballot to ten...

I was looking for some homerism (all those players played for one or more of Det, LAD, or SF), but it seems to me if you're a Detroit writer just voting for all former Detroit players, by the time you get to so-so players, you'd pick Todd Jones over Jacque Jones* anyways.

* Edited because Armando Benitez, apparently didn't play for Det.

posted by dfleming at 02:35 PM on January 08

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Jack Morris looks like he'll fall short on his last try (and will have to wait until 2017 for the Veteran Committee to (probably) vote him in.

Thank goodness. I was worried that sentimentality/his last shot would cloud the judgment of enough writers to let him in. Morris is a favourite of the old school whose statistical analysis of the game ends in wins, losses and big moments.

The writer who's so disgusted by the steroid "era" that he won't vote for anyone from that timeframe is nuts. Maddux and Morris overlapped for 9 years of their career and there really isn't a good argument for Morris over Maddux statistically.

posted by dfleming at 07:05 AM on January 08

Will Robert Griffin III help or hurt the next Washington Redskins coach?

I looked them up, and they are eat-here-for-free-forever cards Subway gives some VIPs.

The ironic thing about this is that VIPs, who likely can afford options, could go literally anywhere else and get a better sandwich. Give this to someone on welfare and it's a big deal - give it to someone who actually eats there and it might actually be used more than, say, a $100 gift card.

posted by dfleming at 05:26 PM on January 07

49ers Edge Packers on Last-Second Field Goal

When I watch him operate the offense, I don't feel as though I'm witnessing consistent methodical mastery of the system.

I think this is the second-year QB version of the system - i.e., a "don't lose the game" one. Their D isn't going to get trampled on very often, so their priority often is just possessing the ball as much as they can.

The risks he takes on his feet are pretty calculated...he is big, strong, knows to run out of bounds and isn't a fumble risk. He doesn't throw a lot of high-risk passes (he also doesn't have to) and is surrounded by sure-handed receivers. Gore, Hunter and James grind yards out repeatedly.

Put Kaepernick on Indianapolis and I think his development cycle would be different, but there's no reason for Kaep to run a complicated passing-oriented offence right now. Get the ball, hold the ball, put up a few points and let your D do the rest. He's shown in a limited sample that he can make clutch throws, but as a guy in his second-year I don't think you want him having to very often.

posted by dfleming at 11:47 AM on January 06

Chris Kluwe Knows His NFL Career is Over

Kluwe in 2012 was an average punter making well above the average for an NFL punter.

I am not naive enough to think that his advocacy had nothing to do with his getting cut, but he completely glosses over the other factors involved. $1.6m to $497k was the math. For a team as bad as they are, swapping a 30-year old kicker for a 24-year old one and saving some money makes sense.

Also, nowhere in his account is the part where the Raiders signed him this offseason and cut him because he got outkicked. He got paid this year. He was given another shot and didn't kick very well.

I like the guy and think he was brave for what he did, but I don't think it's necessarily something other than kicking that's keeping Chris Kluwe from a job.

posted by dfleming at 08:40 PM on January 02

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Bobby Ryan's upset about Brian Burke's comments about him during the public process of selecting the US Men's hockey roster, which Ryan was left off of. Specifically, Burke was quoted as saying "He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary. It's never going to be in his vocabulary. He can't spell intense."

posted by dfleming at 12:26 PM on January 02

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yikes. $18m per year for the first three - if all or most of that is guaranteed, the Bears panicked hard.

He wasn't even their most effective QB this year. The money is definitely out there for Cutler on the open market (too many teams with long-term shitty QB situations), but it seems pretty quick to have taken all other scenarios off the table. At least entertain other possibilities until free agency is looming - it's not like there was much of a discount at this stage anyways.

posted by dfleming at 12:02 PM on January 02