Recent Comments by dfleming

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

David Clarkson was traded for Nathan Horton, who because he's on long-term injury, doesn't count against the cap. Say what you want about Nonis, but he deserves at least a brief cap tip for getting out from under that deal.

posted by dfleming at 07:55 PM on February 26

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Has Tony the Tiger always worn underwear?!

Perhaps Tony slapped some underwear on to appease Mrs. Tiger during the great Tiger infidelities of 2009.

posted by dfleming at 12:23 PM on February 26

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The top speculative reason is that he used cocaine a few months back, voluntarily admitted it to MLB, and is expecting to be punished for it (as he's a multiple-time offender when he was in the minors).

I kinda wonder how MLB classifies his suspensions. The final test that he failed in '03 (which was not the first) was during spring training, and it was not inconceivable that he made that Rays team. He also had the incident in 2009 where it seems his inability to actually get any cocaine one night while drunk was the only thing stopping him from failing a test.

I mean - on the one hand, non-PED drug and alcohol suspensions are draconian - but on the other, Hamilton's voluntarily admitted three times in the last five years to incidents and has had to hold press conferences to apologize to the fans. At what point does him coming forward stop being a good sign, worthy of consideration during discussions of his punishment?

posted by dfleming at 08:55 AM on February 26

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I've run into a few "NFL concept helmet" stories in the past couple weeks and my reaction to both has been "if you touch the Bengals helmet, I will cut you."

posted by dfleming at 07:31 AM on February 26

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

More info on Bryant - apparently, whoever has it has offered it to TMZ or Bryant's team, depending on who pays more.

Allegedly screen shots have been sent around to some folks in the media attempting to shake them down too. Hell of a way to get a payday.

Roger Goodell is viciously booking a trip to Antarctica as we speak.

posted by dfleming at 04:27 PM on February 25

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

This has got to be the cagiest semi-leak ever - apparently there is a Dez Bryant video of some kind, showing him doing "something he shouldn't be doing" - but can't possibly be smoking pot or something that simple, because Adam Schefter has been working on it for a long time and there's "a lot involved" and may or may not ever be able to release anything. A source says there's some rumours it's "five times worse than the Ray Rice video."

I've gotta say, this feels insanely irresponsible to me as far as my take on media ethics is concerned. If it's not passed the sniff test of the newsroom, it's not yet a story. In the meantime, it's going to do a heck of a lot to Bryant's negotiations for his largest contract ever to have this come out right now with no actual substance.

Report on facts and stories, not on the media. This kind of hyping of things to come to me is bullshit.

posted by dfleming at 04:15 PM on February 25

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Hey, if the folks behind the Buffalo, NY logo and slogan are any indication, you probably can just show up to some branding offices and say "I work here now" and start getting paid.

Two fonts, one which is horrific, and an animal that, while it shares the name, doesn't actually exist there. The opposite of real. Can't make this shit up.

posted by dfleming at 02:35 PM on February 25

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

They are referring to the helmet as a "logo". Interesting.

It's not the physical helmet the players are wearing that is the logo - they have a drawn version that is their actual logo. They don't put the logo on their helmet because then they'd get into a whole "helmets all the way down" drawing scenario and MC Escher seems above this kind of work.

posted by dfleming at 08:42 AM on February 25

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Is it an '89 LeBaron? #johnvoightscar

posted by dfleming at 10:30 AM on February 24

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

The Red Sox reportedly have gotten Yoan Moncada for a reported $31.5m bonus, with an additional $31.5m overage tax for going over the limit for international bonus money.

It's a bloody lot of money for a 19-year-old, although having watched him play a couple of times, he's as real a deal as a 19-year-old can be. My guess for where he's going to play - he'll come to the majors just as Ortiz is retiring in 1-2 years, and they'll shove Sandoval to DH at that time, rather than shipping Bogaerts out or making an outfielder out of him and reducing his positional value.

posted by dfleming at 02:06 PM on February 23

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

B.J. Upton is now going as Melvin Upton Jr.

Perplexing logic at work in the creation of this one:

a) His father's name is neither B.J., nor Melvin (his birth name), but instead Manny; and
b) B.J. originally stood for Bossman Jr., which was a take on his dad's nickname.

Honestly, I don't think it's the most likely M name Braves fans will be yelling about him.

posted by dfleming at 09:57 AM on February 23

Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles

I don't know if that's the answer: because they're only elected for a short time and because people tend to vote against their long-term interests for this kind of crap, isn't it more of an education issue?

I don't think so, at least not more so on this topic than any other relating to how our democratic institutions would be better if we had a more informed voter.

I think, in theory, it's a great idea for a politician to say "I want to bring a professional sports team to town" and for the public to say "I want that too!" The devil is in the details of the deal, which i s what we send elected representatives to do for us. We can vote 'em out, but for the people of Miami, that's little consequence when you're financing the deal for the next 50 years.

I was in the room for a lot of discussions about a CFL stadium (as an economist who brought in a lot of the great economic work being done on how the infrastructure and development promises rarely come to be) - and often, I felt like for the elected officials, you could move a decimal point and it doesn't matter. They're there to make a deal, and unless that happens, it's a failure. They don't negotiate well because, deep down, they're not very willing to say no.

A stadium project can revitalize a downtown.

I think, for the most part, those days are gone - at least in the sense of sustainable growth.

The last decade of fiscal constraint means we're putting these things in suburbia because the land value is lower and there's more of it. This is theorized in Carson, not downtown LA. That puts huge pressures on transportation, planning and county infrastructure to make it work. Roads need to be built and adjusted; public transportation now has huge swaths of people moving from one place to another it didn't before. Costly water, sewer, and environmental impacts as well.

It will also revitalize an area if the stadium is occupied for decades (like Camden) - so when the Braves go ahead and move out of Turner Field after 19 years, and the whole area declines, it's a problem. It's not a great city planning tool unless you know it'll be there for the length of time it takes to truly build great infrastructure.

Again - I think under the right circumstances, a stadium could be a good thing. Camden Yards, in today's dollars, cost $185 million and is likely paying dividends now that it's into its third decade of occupancy.

Marlins Park cost 4 times that, meaning in order to realize equivalent dividends, either they need to stay there 4 times as long, or do a lot more for the surrounding area each year. Lots of that ancillary investment and improvement is public, to which the public has less money due to the deal than it had before.

So - I do get what you're saying, but the nature of the current stadium deal isn't likely to do to many places what Baltimore's has, unless the collectively political realm gets a hell of a lot better at negotiating.

posted by dfleming at 02:05 PM on February 20

Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles

It's becoming more and more clear that major sports corporations are becoming more and more of a plague on the cities they're in, or could be in. It's akin economic development* in general - every place's willingness to sweeten the deal through investment and tax breaks to get someone to come to town makes the upside for the broader public a heck of a lot smaller, and then people make deals that work politically in the short-term and where the suffering comes in over the long-term.

There's no benefit to Goodell stepping in, nor would he have the backing of an ownership that makes off like bandits in this game of Russian roulette. Anything he does reduces the leverage that owners are currently using to stranglehold cities into better deals and decrease their capital responsibilities. Yeah, it's a bit embarrassing and chaotic and the media will have a field day in the short-term, but ultimately Goodell makes his coin if the league owners makes theirs - and this is big coin negotiation for 10% of the owners, plus those looking at their own stadiums and leases in the near future.

Like the Olympics, the only real opportunity for reform is a collective spinal-installation procedure for elected officials to be able to walk away from marketable shit because the dollars and cents don't make sense. Too many of them see the big headline and don't care what it costs because it temporarily bumps them up in the polls.

I predict nobody ends up in LA in the next couple of years - one, because California is broke and the public money is still going to be required for a shared stadium, and two, because deep-down there's a ton of risk moving into a market potentially at the same time as another team. Is constantly dysfunctional Oakland really reveling at the prospect of trying to rebuild the other 75% of their fan base (they estimate 25% of their fan base is in Orange County/LA) in a market they're likely to be the second best team in at least for a while? You can't even get people hyped about it being Brooklyn vs. Manhattan, or Manhattan vs. Queens, because it's the same geographic location in Carson everyone goes to.

You've got to captivate a market, one now you're sharing with another brand-spanking new team, and it's been a while since you did anything worth marketing on the field. Not exactly a market that screams "get at me, bro."

* I spent much of my career to date in economic development. It's game theory where only some of the people have gone past watching A Beautiful Mind in their studies, and unfortunately all those people are employed by the one side who's winning left, right, and centre.

posted by dfleming at 12:33 PM on February 20

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Finally, a legitimate career opportunity in play-by-play for those loyal to Winterfell.

posted by dfleming at 08:59 AM on February 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Why, every time that something horrifically racist/sexist/xenophobic/whatever happens, does someone feel the need to stand up and make the point that the majority of their "group" is not racist/sexists/xenophobic/whatever? In this case - the head of the supporters' association wants you to know most Chelsea fans aren't racist!

There's no way of knowing that. There's no "I'm not a racist" checkbox to become a football team fan. Most people don't do these kinds of acts, but a bunch of people on a train seem to have done nothing (or, wrote it off as fan tribalism, rather than taking what they were chanting at face value) about it. Is that really a hair worth splitting?

Most people aren't blatantly horrific, but a lot of us (myself included) could do a heck of a lot to make it tougher for people who do to function in everyday society.

posted by dfleming at 10:22 AM on February 18

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

He was entirely okay with the Twins writing off his own HGH testimony as they attempted to induct him into their Hall-of-Fame.

Naturally, even in that he committed an untimely error and had that undone by (allegedly) committing domestic violence.

Chuck, it's a lot easier for people to revise history and work the PR on your legacy when you stop being a total twat for 365 days at least. Clock's back at zero.

posted by dfleming at 01:50 PM on February 17

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

With Jason Giambi's announced retirement, there are now ZERO players in any of the four major sports (NHL/MLB/NBA/NFL) that are older than me.

Hand me my cane.

Cross your fingers Julio Franco lights it up in Japan!

posted by dfleming at 09:45 AM on February 17

McCutchen: Baseball No Longer a Sport Where Poor Kids Get Discovered

As far as baseball goes, it is what happens in High School and College ball, not youth leagues.

The quality of coaching, opposition, academy and training programs have a lot to do with your talent level in high school and college. I sniffed at it (and a few of the guys I played with got drafted) and my parents were shelling out a couple of thousand bucks a summer in travel, gear, and training programs. I ended up dropping at level at 14 simply because my parents couldn't afford to keep up.

There are a few naturally talented kids whose capabilities transcend any disadvantages - but training and coaching for most every other kid are a huge indicator as to who develops and who simply has raw talent. That's not a level playing field, where some youth coaches are paid and some are parents who are volunteers and have hardly even played the game, and the capacity to be coached in academy programs by guys who are either minor league coaches or guys with connections to college programs is a great way to get discovered.

posted by dfleming at 10:01 AM on February 16

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Will do - thanks for the support folks!

posted by dfleming at 12:09 PM on February 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I'm not sure how we feel about self-links here. If I am breaking a cultural norm - I'm sorry and delete my post.

But I've started a baseball blog where I'm going to write weekly articles on stories that I don't find elsewhere. It's called Lefty One Out Guy and my first article is on the everlasting Jamey Wright.

It'll also likely feature the trials and tribulations of a Can-Am baseball expansion team, as I moved to Ottawa this year (and they are trying another kick at the pro baseball can) and it's the first time I've had a competitive team at any level in my hometown.

posted by dfleming at 08:49 AM on February 12

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

"If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, if you don't have a relationship [with Him], if He's not the master of your life, if you've never gotten on your knees and asked Him to forgive you of your sins, [and] you're just a pretty good guy or a pretty good gal, you're going to go to Hell." -- Nascar driver and announcer Darrell Waltrip

"...and what's why I've devoted my life to driving and talking about driving in circles. I figure, if my logic's going that direction anyways, I might as well follow it."

posted by dfleming at 12:42 PM on February 11

Semi-regular update: Julio Franco is still playing baseball.

To be frank, Oprah's net worth was about $6 when Julio took his first at-bat.

posted by dfleming at 12:27 PM on February 11

Jerry Rice Should Catch Some Hell for This

Florio's gone from chasing the Rice ambulance, to chasing the guys who aren't chasing the ambulance, to splitting hairs with ESPN, who had the feature with the quotes from Rice in it, on who is/is not reporting on it.

posted by dfleming at 02:38 PM on February 09

James Shields Signs with San Diego Padres

Interesting enough - Shields' contract is the largest ever handed out to a free agent by the Padres.

Second is Joaquin Benoit's $15.5m two-year deal. Third is none other than the famed hooker killer from San Angelo himself (in 2007.)

They've absorbed larger through trade (for example, Matt Kemp) and have re-signed players in between, but it's kind of startling to see a team with very little history building through free agency. It'd be more impressive if they won more often in conjunction, but notable nonetheless.

posted by dfleming at 12:04 PM on February 09

James Shields Signs with San Diego Padres

It's a bit of a ragtag group they've put together - I don't necessarily think they've constructed a playoff-caliber roster, and I'm not sure the Cole Hamels for Andrew Cashner/Wil Myers rumors puts them over the top either. A lot of wild cards (Morrow, Johnson, Middlebrooks, Kemp) could pull them any which way.

That outfield has the potential to be one of the worst defensively in recent memory, and in such a big park guys like Ian Kennedy and James Shields, who were both top 40 in FB% last year, may regress. They have about $55m invested in those 6 outfielders, and only 3 can play everyday, and only one (Maybin) can really say at this point in his career he`s a true center fielder.

I feel like they're amassing a roster and fell a deal or two short. Maybe there's another deal in the wings, but I don't look at this roster and think they break 85 wins without a whole lot of stuff going right.

posted by dfleming at 09:51 AM on February 09

Jerry Rice Should Catch Some Hell for This

On the one hand - I want sunshine to expose cheaters universally.

On the other hand, it sucks have "yeah, but" added to the memories of guys like Tom Brady and Jerry Rice. It doesn't really matter who you cheer for, even the prospect of the greats needing an edge to be so great is a total buzzkill.

posted by dfleming at 04:32 PM on February 06

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The Leafs' woes are at least inspiring some decent parody songs.

posted by dfleming at 07:37 PM on February 04

I got a big charge out of seeing Ted Williams hit. Once in a while they let me try to field some of them, which sort of dimmed my enthusiasm.

The Rocky Bridges intro from " The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book" is a thing of beauty. Thanks for sharing this, it's wonderful.

posted by dfleming at 11:45 AM on February 04

Hey, NFL, Let Anyone Commentate the Next Super Bowl

I like this idea - kind of like a live podcast where you'd mute the TV and stream it instead. It seems pretty unlikely the NFL would actually implement it directly in an app, as the requisite product placements and sponsor words wouldn't be enforceable at all, plus someone like me would mercilessly berate the commercials and products.

Particularly during the Super Bowl, a live stream that included popular prop bet results would be pretty damn popular at parties, I suspect.

posted by dfleming at 02:36 PM on February 03

Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception

But he just has never invoked the "don't let him have the ball or we're done" fear that opponents had when facing Montana.

So - if I am reading you correctly - Brady could win 3 more championships and still not be the greatest ever? It seems like this sentiment can't be overturned by results of any kind from here on out. Is that your stance?

Forget Steve Bono? I'm sitting on a pile of his rookie cards.

Considering a lot of cushions contain recycled paper products, there's the possibility this is literally true.

posted by dfleming at 02:11 PM on February 03

Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception

Nutbar conspiracy theory time - the "play" was about making Russell Wilson, the more brandable guy, a hero.

posted by dfleming at 08:55 AM on February 03

Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception

Overall playoff record doesn't diminish Super Bowl record. If Brady had gone undefeated in the biggest game, you know that would have been used forever to rate him above quarterbacks who got there and didn't win 'em all.

I am saying that isolating the "big game" when the entire playoff process is about win-or-go-home doesn't really do big game quarterbacking justice.

I mean, to simplifying it, Montana and Brady both won 4 championships in 14 seasons as starters. The only Super Bowl specific difference which some consider to be a negative is that Brady got there two more times. Which, when you consider every playoff game (by measure of every other QB in the game) a big game, means you actually value those deep playoff runs less than two of Montana's one-and-dones. Which is ludicrous.

posted by dfleming at 03:33 PM on February 02

Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception

Never lost a Superbowl. 4-3 is admirable, 4-0 is excellence.

So - by this logic - if a guy wins 5, but loses any others, he's not excellent? The only way to beat Montana is to win 5 and retire immediately?

I do not understand why people favour perfect records over dirtier, more successful ones, as though it's inconceivable in a bigger sample size that people regress to the mean.

Which Montana does, when you consider his 16-7 playoff record against Brady's 21-8 one (a lower win%), or Montana's 4 one-and-dones vs. Brady's 2 one-and-dones. It wasn't all Montana Playoff Magic all-the-time, if you have any memory at all.

posted by dfleming at 12:27 PM on February 02

Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception

If my brain only has room for one Chris Matthews, I'd happy exchange his performance for the collective works of Hardball Chris.

posted by dfleming at 11:13 PM on February 01

Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception

Carroll's explanation after the game was that he had three receivers on the field and the Pats' goal line unit out there, and they were playing for 3rd or 4th down to give the Pats next to no time on the clock. So he wanted to run the next time when he had the right guys out there.

It's a pretty confusing position to take - they wanted to throw despite wanted not to score so there'd be no time left, but they also wanted to exploit the goal line unit, and yet didn't split out wide and ended up running a quick slant inside. If they just wanted to run time off the clock, there were better ways to do that than a passing play into the heart of the field.

My sense is - Pete Carroll wanted to outsmart everyone, the same way he did at the end of the 1st half going for a TD with six seconds left, and getting caught up in the moment didn't consider that a near-guarantee Lynch TD there was already plenty brilliant enough.

Chris Matthews was the intended receiver - what Superbowl folklore he would've been had he caught that ball.

posted by dfleming at 10:50 PM on February 01

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I love this question posted by a reporter to Goodell today: "And why aren't you available to the media every week, as Richard Sherman suggested?"

Not to mention his answer - I'm available nearly every day - is god damned laughable. Clearly the NFL just forgot to ask him to comment the last two weeks.

Plus the long line of tweets from reporters who don't get interviews is kind of awesome.

posted by dfleming at 03:33 PM on January 30

Josh Gordon: I Am Not an Addict

Right, but like many other people, his paycheck became contingent on his not drinking when he got arrested due to a problem with it. Lots of punishments in the judicial system are reduced contingent on stopping the problem behavior.

Again - it doesn't really matter if he's a volume alcoholic, or a guy with a really bad luck streak when it comes to booze and substances. If I was him, with that track record, I'd have probably put a lot more distance between a Las Vegas party trip and the last suspension by my team a few days earlier.

I hope the guy gets it - owning the mistakes is good, but changing the behavior is what is going to keep him on an NFL roster. He's probably got zero room for error now.

posted by dfleming at 02:44 PM on January 30

Josh Gordon: I Am Not an Addict

He says this:

As a strict condition to my reinstatement in Week 12, I had to agree not only to abstain from drinking for the rest of the season, but also to submit to an alcohol screen as part of my in-season drug testing under the league's substance-abuse protocol. Did I think that was excessive given I had never had any issue whatsoever with alcohol? Yes. Did I think it was hypocritical that a professional league making hundreds of millions of dollars off beer sponsorships was telling me not to drink? Yes. Did I so much as blink at the condition? No.

He thinks these conditions were hypocritical, and doesn't think he's ever had issues with drinking despite getting caught drinking and driving six months ago. I don't know how to take that - other than someone else has the problem (the NFL's hypocrisy), but not him.

You don't have to be a volume consumer to have a problem with the stuff - one of the telltale signs being, when you touch it, your life goes to shit.

I think it's an impassioned essay, and Josh Gordon deserves a ton of respect for utilizing his talents to get out of a world I don't at all know. That must've been a huge struggle.

But - Josh Gordon was suspended by his team a few days earlier, then decided it was appropriate to go to Vegas drinking on a private plane. He's free to do what he wants, but the consequence is that people are going to rightly question why it is you can't make the rational decision to keep your head down, kill it, and get a massive deal that makes you set for life.

Either that's a problem with your decision making skills, or a problem with substance, but regardless, it's not a problem with perception, and that's all this essay is trying to fix.

posted by dfleming at 12:35 PM on January 30

Josh Gordon: I Am Not an Addict

One of the tell-tale signs of addiction (vs. recreational use) is an inability to see the problems associated with your use as related to the use - but rather, a product of the environment around you. But that's also the case for people who are just generally unable to make good long-term value judgments on their own behaviour. In Gordon's case, it seems as though the latter is going to be what kills his career.

Yes - people are human, and make mistakes - but Josh Gordon's gone from being one of the elite WR in the NFL on his way to a huge payday to a guy who may get cut because he violated the terms that got his suspension reduced the first time around. All for the sake of a single beer? Doesn't it make that beer, for the duration of your "make-good" period, totally not worth it?

Fact is, I don't like the draconian NFL view on pot and alcohol. I think nature will take its course and guys who can't cut it because they're high too much will naturally get (sic) weeded out.

But Josh Gordon's found a way to violate even the things I don't like - drinking and driving, and not being committed enough to make a team walkthrough while trying to make it up to your team for getting suspended. Fact is - a lot of us avoid getting caught drinking and driving by never doing it. We show up to work every day, knowing that we don't have a right to get paid. Those are patterns of behaviour that people want to invest in, and do. Greatness is not about skill - it's about continued and predictable execution, and unfortunately Josh Gordon at 23 is not great.

I hope the guy can get out from under the spectre of the NFL's ire and make it right. But - focusing on whether or not you're an addict is again focusing on things other than what the actual problem is - that Josh Gordon needs to learn how to make decisions with a long-term view if he is going to deserve the investment of a team past high-risk, short-term contracts. Clock starts now on that.

posted by dfleming at 07:50 AM on January 30

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

This, and having to defend Fred Wilpon being appointed to the finance committee, is a pretty epic way to introduce yourself to the public. Heck of a low bar to start from.

posted by dfleming at 04:37 PM on January 27

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Jay Glazer is reporting the NFL is zeroing in on a locker room attendant who took balls somewhere between the officials room and the field and has video.

posted by dfleming at 04:43 PM on January 26

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

League statement - so far, they know the balls in the first half were under inflated despite a pre-game inspection, balls were re-inflated at halftime and remained inflated in the second half.

This statement on, say Monday night, would seem like an appropriate amount of detail, as all of the cursory measurements and referee actions would've been defined by then. But this is day five. If the Pats are co-operating as the league says, you could assume they would've had all video, plus interviews with all key staff, available at their disposal almost immediately. And yet - on Friday - they're talking about retaining a forensic investigative firm, as though that has just occurred to them?

This is absolutely bonkers bad management on the part of the NFL. At this rate, it is going to dominate into next week - the week that is supposed to be about hyping the biggest game of the year. Is Goodell going to hide from the media until the investigation is complete? Because it's the only thing they're going to want to talk to him about now - not just the facts, but also the bizarrely slow investigation that took at least 4 days to interview Tom Brady.

It'll be a distraction not only for the Pats players, but also for the Seahawks who have to prepare for the personnel they think will be on the field, as well as do a ton of media next week.

posted by dfleming at 02:25 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Tom Brady claimed today he's never been interviewed by the league about the balls. Four days in, and the NFL hasn't talked to him?

That's baffling. I don't even know what else they could be doing the four days previous other than interviewing key people and watching video. Tom Brady is, arguably, the most key person involved. It is incredible that we're four days in with only Troy Vincent's "we're looking into it" statement as the only thing from the NFL.

I get that I'm beating a dead horse nobody really wants to ride (and I'm stopping after this post), but as I said upthread, for me - if this ends up being true, I'm fucking done as a Pats fan. Full stop. So I'd like to at least have one person on the record with access to some information who says that they believe the Pats intentionally cheated, and a sequence of events or confirmation of facts. It isn't Pagano. It's apparently not D'Qwell Jackson. It's not Tom Brady, or Bill Belichick.

So it is coming down to someone in the NFL head office waking from their collective nap to actually confirm exactly what happened, and ideally, by whom. I'm willing to wait for that before I pour a scotch and commiserate over fallen stars.

posted by dfleming at 08:30 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

It's unclear what position you are trying to carve out. Sorry if you already did. Would you have me believe that this was accidental? A coincidence?

No - I find it painfully ironic that someone calling for "the fucking truth" is so ingrained in a story that currently has anonymous league sources at the core of it and no actual, you know, report you can read.

11/12 balls has not been confirmed by anyone - it's one story's anonymous sources. 2 PSI has not been confirmed by anyone. Heck, the Mortensen story has a contradiction between two different reports - one that balls were refilled and put back in for the second half, another that different balls were put in for the second half because the first were irregular.

There are sources saying that the Colts noticed balls in a previous game - and others saying the Ravens tipped them off. So forgive me for not rushing to a conclusion on a story where nobody with access to actual information is on the record yet. Nobody on the Ravens, or the Colts, has confirmed anything they did. Wait, sorry - Pagano is on the record saying he didn't notice anything.

Tomorrow, maybe I wake up to a league source, on the record, confirming all of this. Or - maybe it's a story that a lot of the sources were incorrect and it has been blown out of proportion.

So that's my position - Brady's press conference confirmed his position that he knows nothing, to which I would expect some confirmed evidence to prove that isn't true before I indict him as disingenuous, a liar, and a cheat. If he got up and said "yeah, I did something", that would be a new fact, for which we have very, very few at this point. But that didn't happen.

I haven't played football in 10 years and I could easily tell the difference ... anyone on this forum could.

...except that the idea that the Pats have been doing this at least since November has not been noticed by refs who actually do handle the balls every week. How does that figure in to "anyone could" if they couldn't?

posted by dfleming at 07:24 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

That's not true, he later qualified that by saying "to his knowledge." Look, I'm not trying to crucify Brady in particular. The guy can play the, "I just throw the ball" card. But Patriots, come up with an organizational response.

The organizational response if they honestly don't know is "we don't know." It really doesn't sound like there's a statement on earth that is going to make you believe anything other than what you already do.

posted by dfleming at 06:10 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

You know - one thing has me confused here - one of the key "facts" so far is the 11/12 balls stat - but Tom said he selected 24 balls before this game. Sometimes it's 12, sometimes 16, this one was 24. So - where are the other 12 balls in that "fact"?

He's also saying he didn't alter the balls, but he's not coming out and saying nobody in his organization did.

He said specifically he was comfortable saying nobody in the organization did anything to the balls. About 2/3 of the way through the interview.

But yeah, there's also the one opinion that matters, the fucking truth.

Truth is not an opinion. It is fact.

posted by dfleming at 05:15 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

It's fucking nuts how disingenuous Tom Brady is in this interview.

If he doesn't know anything (hypothetically) - what would he say that would be genuine right now to satisfy you?

posted by dfleming at 04:43 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Fines keep me from driving twenty over and they'll keep the Patriots from tossing flaccid pigskins around. I don't care if people drive ten over and I don't care if Tom Brady wants his balls at 11 PSI.

The latter part of your argument negates the first - some things you think are illegal that shouldn't be (otherwise you'd care about them), therefore the fine isn't prevent you from acting however you want to act. So it's useless.

Plus - I am sure you're aware you're way more likely to get caught doing 20 over than 10, which isn't about the fine as it is the likelihood of getting prosecuted for the crime. So yet again, I think the speeding analogy isn't correct.

posted by dfleming at 12:12 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Harbaugh said they never touched the Patriots offensive balls* but Glazer says the Ravens did tip the Colts off which makes the whole "Colts noticed it earlier this year" thing weird.

It's also strange that the balls are seemingly undetectable by officials who are handling them and the Ravens say they never touched them (despite the fact Daryl Smith picked a Brady pass off, so in fact someone did), so either they had no basis to tip them off, or they did because they did in fact touch a game ball. Either way - something in that story is incorrect.

posted by dfleming at 11:55 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Sure, but I think we disagree on the severity of the crime. I think it's speeding, punishable by fine if it gets out of hand.

But the point of penalties is to prevent - not to punish - otherwise, they're just revenue generators (which is most people's big problem with speeding fines and how they mysteriously happen at the end of the month.)

posted by dfleming at 11:47 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

J. Glazer is reporting that the Ravens tipped off the Colts about the Patriots' footballs inflation issue.

John Harbaugh came out and say they noticed the kicking balls were underinflated and didn't think it was a conspiracy. Kicking balls don't get handled by the teams pre-game.

Which means there is some clandestine shit happening behind the scene or some incongruity going on between sources.

posted by dfleming at 11:39 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

If I thought they would throw me in prison for speeding, I wouldn't speed, but they never have before so I knowingly break the law and drive ten over.

So we're in agreement that the right punishment might prevent an act from happening.

Well - if all that happens when you break rules is you pay a fine (which is minuscule compared to the revenue generated by getting to the Super Bowl), there is absolutely no reason for people to follow the rules. Which is the point of a punitive system - to prevent, not to penalize.

posted by dfleming at 11:29 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

They intentionally broke the rule but I don't even know why the rule exists.

Equipment standards are not a new thing - as seen here, the spectrum goes from Aaron Rodgers who wants the ball overful, to Tom Brady who wants it underfilled.

So, in order to get some consistency in equipment that doesn't favour anyone, you have a standard for how the equipment is prepared that allows for some variation that would likely occur during typical game play.

People agree to these rules as part of playing to the NFL. You might not like 'em all, but it's implicit upon your receiving a salary that you adhere to all of them, not just the ones you agree with.

Sure, but it should be speeding ticket punishment, not murder punishment.

A more apt comparison is conspiracy to commit a crime vs. the crime itself. Yes - it's not as bad - but we punish severely because when they intended to cheat, they didn't know it was going to be a blowout where the act was inconsequential, otherwise they wouldn't have done it at all.

That is of course assuming that's what actually happened, which is as of yet up in the air.

posted by dfleming at 10:53 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Bill Belichick's statement to the media is interesting, particularly because it doesn't say anything about anyone else (read: the QB who likes his balls deflated) and their role in it. Just that Bill B doesn't really care about footballs.

posted by dfleming at 10:18 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Only if there are rules that stipulate it. Lacking that, the punishment should fit the specific violation.

In this instance, the rule book only really sets a floor for tampering with balls after they've been checked - $25,000, plus discretionary additional penalties subject to other agreements in the game.

I think on the basis of the balls being tampered with, you can't throw Brady and Bellichek out of the Superbowl. That's just appeasing a witch hunt who isn't even waiting for an official NFL investigation report to render a verdict anyways.

If you can provide some evidence (i.e., camera footage, or perhaps a ball boy who is being paid by the NFL who comes clean) that goes from the existence of balls that are not up to standard to a cause/effect relationship with one or both of Brady or Bellichek directing people, yeah, throw them out of the game. That's a fair ways from where the public evidence is today.

"I swear these are the only two times we've ever broken the rules. It's purely coincidental that you've also caught us the only two times we cheated. I guarantee that we've never attempted to circumvent the rules in ANY other case."

I am amused at the juxtaposed view of Bill Bellichek being a Keyser Soze-esque genius mastermind who is so much smarter than everyone else in the NFL and who must be constantly getting away with things, but also the same schmuck who's gotten caught cheating twice as much as virtually everyone else in the NFL. How patently absurd.

posted by dfleming at 09:59 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

If he were to suspend Belichick it would ruin the game.

Anyone with a pitchfork in their hand would probably disagree with that statement - whether or not it impacted the end result, I think there's a non-zero number of fans who think an attempt to cheat on the way to the Superbowl should affect your chance of winning the Superbowl. Lots of writers are already talking about this being an *asterick game.

posted by dfleming at 04:27 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Yes - cold air does reduce the pressure, but not enough to drop it 2 PSI below the minimum if it was properly inflated before the game if that is indeed a fact. Thanks, physics classes.

Truth be told, I remain skeptical until a non-anonymous report comes out that contains a variety of facts - right now, there are former referees out there saying even if they were under-inflated, they would've been re-inflated at half-time (i.e., the blowout happened regardless), there are reports that the Colts complained about this in NE in November (i.e, a potential pattern of behaviour on either side), and there are reports the balls were noticeably deflated enough for Colts players to notice them straight away, but not for referees to notice them at all, which to me is a bit of an incongruity as it's the refs who theoretically look at balls for deformities, punctures, or other abnormalities.

Then there's the chain of command and sequence of events, and the need to actually prove someone did something on purpose. The absence of an answer to what happened is not guilt, and there are huge absences in information right now that swing heavily one way or another.

But - I will say this - as someone who's been a Pats fan his whole life, if the conclusion is a credible set of evidence that proved the Pats were attempting (whether or not it actually impacts the results or not) to gain an edge and got caught, I am fucking done with this team. Fool me twice, and all that. But the knowledge base is nowhere near that yet, which isn't really the requirement for axes to be ground in the interim.

posted by dfleming at 12:45 PM on January 21

Patriots crush Colts in the rain

Don't the refs pick the ball up, wipe them, and place a different one after most plays? Surely if the balls were significantly deflated, the refs had easy access to them during the game to notice themselves and/or confirm, either on the sidelines or in the locker rooms at half.

They heard about it before halftime, and if there was some legs to it, they wouldn't have come back onto the field in "illegal" condition. So the 28-0 second half wouldn't have been affected at all.

That said - after SpyGate, Pats fans just have to accept that writing stories about Pats cheating is good business. Last week, PFT got huge legs out of the eligibility kerfuffle, despite the fact the league acknowledges everything was on the level. For Jets fans, it's every story about dysfunction, and for Raiders fans, it's every story about incompetence that gets blown out of proportion.

posted by dfleming at 11:07 AM on January 20

High school coach suspended after basketball team wins by 159 points.

Telling your team to half-ass it isn't really the answer here - he had his scrubs in the entire second half (where they outscored the opposition 57-1), and the opponents still didn't score a basket.

In leagues where there is this much disparity (the game after, they won 80-19, and in the article there are a number of mentions of winning by tons of points), there should just be a mercy rule where when a team gets up by 50 points, the game is called. There's no point in playing past that point - might as well call the game and the teams can practice instead.

posted by dfleming at 09:06 PM on January 18

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Daniel Carcillo's up to his old tricks again.

posted by dfleming at 09:30 AM on January 18