Recent Comments by dfleming

LeBron Takes Cavaliers to NBA Finals in First Season Back

This game was exactly what they needed - Irving comes back for a tune-up but only needs to play 22 minutes and they now get a bunch of rest before the finals.

Tristan Thompson's stock certainly is on the rise - I wonder whether a team like the Raptors will take a swing at him in the off-season with one of those front-loaded structure deals that would put the Cavs in a position to either cut bait with one or both of Kevin Love and JR Smith (who will push them deep into the luxury if Thompson gets above value in year one) or to deal them and roll with Thompson.

posted by dfleming at 04:58 AM on May 27

Golden State Routs Houston, Takes Commanding 3-0 Lead

There have probably been better players and runs than the one Curry is on right now, but good lord I can't remember enjoying watching a guy play when he's on more than Curry. Bonus for when Klay's on too.

posted by dfleming at 09:52 AM on May 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Is Ligue 1 a revenue/profit sharing league?

If not - I find the idea that we'll change the integrity of a league to mitigate the downside risk for investors, but not do anything to share the upside potential for everyone, terribly unnerving.

posted by dfleming at 09:52 AM on May 22

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

More than anything, I kinda feel like Revis is saying what he usually says - my job is to play cornerback. I get paid to do that. I don't care about any of the other stuff that's going on in the game.

posted by dfleming at 11:56 AM on May 21

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Marvin Hudson threw Bryce Harper out of last night's game for stepping out of the box - while Hudson had his mask off.

On some level, Harper was definitely showing him up at the end, but isn't there a defined penalty for this that Hudson skipped over on his way to throwing him out of the game?

Relevant passages from the official rules:

Once a batter has taken his position in the batter’s box, he shall not be permitted to step out of the batter’s box in order to use the resin or the pine tar rag, unless there is a delay in the game action or, in the judgment of the umpires, weather conditions warrant an exception.

Notwithstanding Rule 6.02(c), if the batter intentionally leaves the batter’s box and delays play, and none of the exceptions listed in Rule 6.02(d)(1)(i) through (viii) applies, the umpire shall award a strike without the pitcher having to deliver the pitch. The ball is dead, and no runners may advance. The umpire shall award additional strikes, without the pitcher having to deliver the pitch, if the batter remains outside the batter’s box and further delays play.

posted by dfleming at 10:23 AM on May 21

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I think if anything, Shanahan has institutionally made it really difficult for the Leafs management and ownership to snap-react to a media storm and fire the coach. This is a contract designed with patience in mind. Six years at $6.25m is a heck of a lot of dead weight on a coach to swallow if this isn't a playoff team after two years.

posted by dfleming at 04:06 PM on May 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Never mind - it was a browser extension. Disregard.

posted by dfleming at 10:14 AM on May 20

NFL Moves PAT Kicks Back to 15-Yard Line

Two point conversion rates have averaged around 45-50% over time. So effectively - an average of around 0.9-1 pt per try. Who knows if that scales at all - if NFL offences spend more time going for two-point conversions, presumable defenses will prepare more for them.

30-39 yard field goal (this is 33 so perhaps consider this a lower bound) here. Most kickers make at least 85% of them. If we assume this holds for extra points, then we're looking at .85-1 pt per try.

So we're looking at somewhere around a wash in terms of points per attempt at this point which is exciting.

I wonder if the Bears, who went 5/5 on two-point conversions last year and whose kicker only made 66.7% of field goals from 30-39 yards, might consider becoming two-point specialists. I also wonder if teams might employ a Tebow-esque player who might push their efficacy on two-pointers to 60-70% and capitalize on a gap in probabilities that could open up if you make 1.2-1.4pts per attempt.

Chances are, old habits will die hard, but this could be an exciting rule change.

posted by dfleming at 08:38 AM on May 20

Kraft Says Patriots Won't Appeal DeflateGate Punishment

And Kraft supposedly choosing the wiser course of action (from any number of different perspectives) has not silenced one bit of anti-Patriot rancor and hatred. On the contrary, the haters are more revved up and irrational than ever. Additionally, many Pats fans are infuriated at Kraft's tent folding. No waters have been calmed by Kraft's reversal.

The other owners seem calmed - the prospect of this months-long ordeal which has tarnished the NFL's reputation further going on into the summer was likely to wear on all of them. It seems like the public voices so far are just glad it's over.

posted by dfleming at 07:29 AM on May 20

Kraft Says Patriots Won't Appeal DeflateGate Punishment

two men already have "met, spoke and even hugged" already and that they were spotted "on a couch, talking by themselves for quite a long time" at a birthday party

No word on whether they agreed to a first date, though.

posted by dfleming at 03:49 PM on May 19

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I went back to figure out what date that game was on the premise I would feel a copious amount of schadenfreude to know a stat that stupid was also wrong.

Sadly, they used this key to improve to 13-0 that day.

posted by dfleming at 12:52 PM on May 19

SpoFi NBA Pick 'Em

Cleveland in 7
Golden State in 6
East Points: LeBron James
West Points: Steph Curry
East Blocks: Al Horford
West Steals: Steph Curry
Foul Out: Draymond Green
Offensive Rebounds: Dwight Howard
Rebounds + Assists: LeBron James
Margin: 16

posted by dfleming at 08:21 PM on May 18

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

Instead, I'm curious. Hypothetically, what is the minimum amount of evidence, facts, explanation, testimony, or other piece of data that could make you change your mind, or at least admit a possibility that the case is not "clear cut"?

I guess I could approach this two ways:

1) Video from inside the washroom showing the guy was taking a leak and didn't touch the balls. That's the only period in this where anything could've happened and would match up to the dubious-er by the day looking measurement angles of this case.

OR Something on record that proves what I think is a pretty insane conspiracy - that the NFL preferred the tarring, feathering and disgracing of their reigning Super Bowl champs to a clean post-season which ended incredibly. That the NFL wanted a significant portion of its fans thoroughly angry at them all off-season, only to have another big group of its fans thoroughly pissed at them once they came down hard on Tom Brady.

It is such a counter-intuitive thing to think folks concerned with PR would have believed this outcome was better. Goodell seemed to have few friends left in the NFL and he just torched his closest relationship. None of that makes any sense to me. Nobody was going to forget Ray Rice because they prosecuted a seldom-considered rule harshly. Nobody could possibly have expected that outcome.

OR Something that showed that in fact Tom Brady was willing to comply and that Ted Wells' terms he offered in the media were not in fact the terms. Say - they really only offered unadulterated seizure of his phone for a week without any scrubbing of personal shit on it.

OR Some other shoe to drop regarding the actual measurements - say in reality one of the gauges didn't really exist, or things were forged, or the refs changed their stories on what they did to measure these balls to adhere to the narrative that something happened here.

2) Video that corroborates some of the folks like Jeff Blake et al. who have claimed this happens all the time, by all teams, and this situation is being overblown by Irsay to make up for his team's failings.

Blake claimed ball boys used to stick pins in the balls all the time - a few videos like that would blow the doors off the Colts' accusations that the Pats are specifically doing something wrong. Say we catch 2 other teams in the last 5 years doing that. Bonus if it's the Colts.

Something in those arenas would let me feel really comfortable that the Pats got a super raw deal here and there's enough to throw the whole thing out and blame the NFL for yet another total clusterfuck.

posted by dfleming at 03:05 PM on May 15

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 3

Anaheim in 7
New York in 6
Goals: Corey Perry
Powerplay goals: Rick Nash
PIM: Andrew Shaw
Saves: Lnudsquist

posted by dfleming at 01:55 PM on May 15

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

I mean how incredibly unlucky would you have to be to have a term you created that is thoroughly unused in a particular context - but you use it that way - to then become the subject of a massive scandal?

It's like all those moms and dads on November 8th, 2000 who named their kids Hanging as they normally would, and then that one dad who suggested the middle name Chad to his wife to go with it. "It's a perfectly good name" he said. "What could possibly go wrong?" he said.

posted by dfleming at 03:53 PM on May 14

Corey Kluber Strikes Out 18 in 8, But Doesn't Pitch 9th

Yeah, what a silly decision.

Kluber's never thrown more than 120 pitches in his career, but it would be pretty unlikely he'd survive an extended inning with base runners anyways.

Effectively Wild pointed out that teams now have a sleeve that gives them information on arm torque, so it's plausible that they have some data on what happens to Kluber's arm and the risk it poses as he goes deep into games, but still - it seems like the risk would be minute to let him go out and at least try to get the lead off guy in the inning, then assess.

posted by dfleming at 10:23 AM on May 14

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

Thanks, rcade.

The physicist article you posted yerfatma is a really good read. It challenges the scientific integrity of the findings (in addition to the findings themselves) but really gives me a real reason to pause here. It's one thing to conclude based on a set of factors that have been reasonably controlled for and recorded, another to simply fill in blanks with what seems most plausible and then assign certainty to that.

posted by dfleming at 08:56 AM on May 14

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I think the leap between an outcome which seems relatively implausible and proving there was a concerted effort to get to it is going to be a problem for him.

If at some point during the offseason, a team chatted with him and priced him out (say - the Mariners who employed 308 AB of Jose Vidro at DH that year) then his offer later to play for the minimum doesn't mean that much in the grand scheme of things.

Bonds also had one monster postseason in 22 seasons in the bigs. He didn't have an extensive pinch hit resume. It's questionable whether a team would've kept him happy as a part-time player, which would've really limited his available pennant run teams to teams with a gaping full-time hole in LF or DH. Plus he was 44 and would've missed half a year. I could see any combination of those things making a GM think of going another direction.

That said - I think a damning piece of evidence was how many shots Manny Ramirez got late in his career, despite over and over again showing he couldn't play in the field and his bat was gone. If a guy like that is worth a flier (at 40 and as a former PED user), then if Bonds could prove he would've accepted a similar deal and didn't get one, that's really tough to put back on those GMs in particular why one guy was worth it despite recent evidence, but a guy who had a 1.045 OPS the year before he was unemployable was not.

posted by dfleming at 10:09 PM on May 13

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

They started last year 2-2 with a jaw-dropping bad performance in Kansas City in week 4 and still secured home field the whole way.

It would be hard to imagine anything other than 0-4 leaving them in worse shape than they were 4 weeks into last year.

posted by dfleming at 03:54 PM on May 13

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

Breaking news - Pats sign undrafted QB Dom Grady to take #12's spot on the roster.

posted by dfleming at 11:19 AM on May 13

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

If Tom Brady likes to throw a softer ball than one other qb, I haven't yet heard a good reason why he shouldn't be able to.

Because quarterbacks are not the only ones with a stake in how the balls are prepared (defensive players would prefer pickable and strippable balls) and because 32 teams came together to decide, like baseball did with doctoring baseballs, that they prefer a uniform standard for the equipment they use.

This wasn't foist by a ghoulish king against everyone's will, and clearly Brady et. al had influence on the process as they very recently had a rule changed.

posted by dfleming at 03:24 PM on May 12

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

I'm not sure if you're being serious or facetious here, but I'll assume the former. With the exception of the separate balls for kicking, the team provides the referees with their balls, and they (the referees) throw them in for each play. The team doesn't get to pick a running ball or a throwing ball for each play.*

I believe, though, a team or QB can ask for a ball to be replaced at any time. If I am wrong there, I apologize for adding to the noise.

It doesn't negate the fact that a run-heavy team (or a team playing in the rain) could use a half-deflated ball to avoid fumbles and strips.

I mean, if it didn't matter at all, QBs wouldn't have a preference or have pushed for ball prep control would they?

posted by dfleming at 01:38 PM on May 12

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

What exactly is that reason? What is this a slippery slope to? Quarterbacks inflating the football to their liking leads to what, exactly?

Play one - a run. Team A subs a half-filled ball in which can be gripped with one hand and is next to impossible to strip from a runner.

Play two - a pass. Team A subs in a fully-filled ball that flies through the air better.

Play three - the kicking team inflates a ball to just below its explosion point before punting to encourage fumbles.

posted by dfleming at 01:02 PM on May 12

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

If the NFL actually cared about how inflated the footballs were, there is no principled reason why you would allow a team to play a half of the AFC championship game with balls they expected were deflated. The league could have told the Patriots to knock it off or measured the balls before the game and levied a fine (if they were even under at the time) but they wanted their sting so they could make a stink about it and now everything stinks.

I don't understand the logic of this at all.

First - the league would've had to have known the Colts' allegation was definitely true and had occurred during this game (i.e., the Pats may or may not do this every game, or just some games, or just once, or never) - in this instance, they didn't get confirmation until a ball came back to the sidelines that was questionable and confirmed it. They had zero measured balls at kick-off to conclude this theory.

Second - they would've had to known the procedure "more probably than not" included the balls being properly inflated prior to inspection then deflated just prior to the game. They had no analysis or theories at that point on possible ways this might be accomplished.

Third - the allegation indicated that there was the belief this was not an isolated incident, but a pattern of behaviour. The Colts' allegation pre-game was not about this game, but about previous games, and they wanted the NFL to analyze this game.

Fourth - this also presumes that the fine would've prevented any additional investigation into conspiracy or how it happened. There were conspiracy theorists here (hey cixelsyd) last week believing that the NFL favoured the Pats and were going to get a "blind eye" treatment because of Kraft's relationship with Goodell. Those people would've had a conniption fit over sweeping this under a rug in a title game.

The ideal scenario for the NFL in this was the Colts levy an accusation, they measure the balls, and they're fine. It was not a witch hunt that left a ton of people really angry in the end.

posted by dfleming at 12:30 PM on May 12

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

A basketball coach makes 150 to 200 critical decisions during the course of a game, something that I think is paralleled only by a fighter pilot

"Do I suggest to LeBron that we go small at the 4 for the next few minutes now or later?"

posted by dfleming at 09:08 AM on May 12

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

The investigators had texts (pages 101-109 of the report) from Brady to the guys specifically relating to the time and subject matter of the case.

Perhaps Brady means what those guys attempted to say when he said he had none - that the context that they were being interpreted as was wrong - however to say he had no texts about the deflation case is preposterous. They have outgoing ones FROM HIM saying "you good boy" (or some variation to that effect) after the equipment guy claims they had a call about the coverage of the story. It's implausible to believe Brady talked to nobody but his agent and coach B about the case, particularly when other guys involved said they chatted about it.

The Pats' punishment is, IMO, moreso about conduct detrimental to the league than it is the specifics of these balls. The balls were a $25,000 fine, but the league had warned everyone after the warming balls issue earlier in the year, this was the Patriots who had been caught in a conspiracy once in recent memory (i.e., pattern of behavior), and it all happened during what was supposed to be the NFL's most positive news cycle of the year.

Divorcing the act from the context makes the penalty seem harsh, but it did more damage than the Titans warming the balls because millions more people were watching. I don't think it survives an appeal (as there isn't a good comparison case that shows consistency in punishment) but at least with the appeal you might get folks who weren't compelled to comply with the investigation to do it this time around. It's a chess move perhaps.

Goodell's a total knob and the arbitrariness and inconsistency of punishment has to be resolved in the league, but IMO I think the penalty was just for what it has - and continues to do - to the league's reputation.

posted by dfleming at 09:04 AM on May 12

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

I am interested to see what happens with the equipment staff - they've both been suspended indefinitely without pay as of May 6th. Neither were presumably made wealthy by their efforts, and both are probably too tainted to ever get another NFL job.

There's no financial incentive (no over the table incentive, anyways) left to remain silent - and plenty there to speak up. Maybe old loyalties die hard, but if there's a shoe left to drop, you have to think Brady's potential appeal would involve not only the phone records, but also someone talking to those two who no longer have the prospect of a job waiting for them. Possibly after a significant financial offer and with an ESPN camera involved.

posted by dfleming at 09:03 PM on May 11

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Hi Dave - it's your agent. Just wanted to send you this link saying Helvetica was recently voted best resume font. Thought you should know. - Agent Gary

posted by dfleming at 12:08 PM on May 11

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

David Blatt tried to call an illegal timeout with 8.4 seconds left last night nearly handing the game to the Bulls, then tried to draw up a final play that involved LeBron inbounding the ball rather than having the ball in his hands.

LeBron overruled him and drained a clutch jumper to win game four.

Jack Armstrong (who I usually can't stand) argued that LeBron might be the most capable player-coach possibility we've had in a while (he listed Steve Nash and Jason Kidd as others.) In practice at least, it's hard to imagine the duration of his peak years in Cleveland being anything other than a window-dressed version of that where a coach is in place with more social capital to overrule LeBron than LeBron has to overrule him.

posted by dfleming at 11:43 AM on May 11

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

On the one hand, good to put at least some of the onus on adults who should absolutely know better (especially in this case where the guy not only paid for the gear, but then tried to sell the story that he knew would ruin the kid and not him - what an absolute prick), but there's a hanging chad at the end of the article where Fleming (no relation) says:

He said he believes financially disadvantaged players should get some sort of stipend because "many of them can't get a job, for obvious reasons. They're spending all their time practicing."

This is a classic legislative solution - acknowledge there's a disease that is causing the symptoms, but don't actually address that with your legislative powers. There would still be athletes who want money and bend the rules, but it would be nice if the rules didn't push athletes to do it because they need the money. The latter get a lot more sympathy IMO when it comes to rule breaking.

posted by dfleming at 08:08 AM on May 11

NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose

If you guys need someone to lend a hand on the front-end (building a more responsive framework as an example), willing to offer help there as needed.

posted by dfleming at 01:36 PM on May 08

NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose

Pages 101-109 grum.

posted by dfleming at 02:15 PM on May 07

NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose

Did they know that Brady has guilty messages?
If they did know those guilty messages were there, then why do they need Brady's phone since they already have that information from another source?

If they didn't know the messages were there, then they were on a fishing expedition. In which case, they can pound astroturf.

They have texts after the fact from Brady to one of the two guys. It's in the report. They were looking for other things he might've been texting during that timeframe.

posted by dfleming at 01:29 PM on May 07

NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose

Well done - the last part really does seal it. I do like those apples, sir.

posted by dfleming at 12:41 PM on May 07

NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose

It's right down the same path as

"Hey, if you've got nothing to hide then you shouldn't have any problem with the government reading all your emails."

No it isn't.

They didn't start the investigation wanting all of Brady's emails and conclude that his reluctance to give them up was evidence of his guilt. That's the equivalent to your broader scenario and isn't what happened here.

They already had a variety of circumstantial and fishy text messages he was involved in and gifts involving Brady that they wanted to dig into. There was an entirely plausible pattern in place (Brady pressures the equipment guys to get him balls in a format he wants, a big thing happens involving balls that adheres to his preferences, they figure out how it might've been done using a video, and find out one of the guys suddenly starts getting calls and texts from Brady and memorabilia) and they offered him terms and the opportunity to have counsel present.

The intent was to gather facts and not just rely on Brady's declaration that he's innocent and that a bunch of happenstance stuff he doesn't know about seems to be happening. That's a statement that's counter to the reasonable interpretation of the events that occurred, and thus shouldn't on its face be considered as of equivalent value to the pattern of other things.

I am typically pro-liberty (and am pro-liberty to Brady's right not to give up his phone) but that's not the same as suggesting it has no adverse value to his case considering his phone was involved in some elements of the case and should not be held against him. People who are guilty plead the fifth all the time, but that doesn't mean we treat the absence of provision of a story of evidence ar completely neutral to a case.

posted by dfleming at 11:46 AM on May 07

NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose

Do you really think that Brady's phone records/emails/texts would have been completely safe?

Considering it was a voluntary offering, he was offered the opportunity for his attorney to be in total control of the phone and to limit the inquiry to just a particular time period and on subject. The phone didn't need to leave the hands of him or his people for any moment at all. He chose not to even do that.

You don't think there wouldn't be one lawyer/clerk/official that wouldn't want to leak something to the press (newspaper, online, blog, tabloid, whatever) for cash if they found something juicy?

Well they had the other guys' texts (which were juicy) and those somehow didn't find their way into the public ethereal until the report came out. Any of those sources would've happily bought those. So why weren't those sold if it was "guaranteed" as you say?

Oh, really?

It doesn't happen often?

Are you sure?

Surely someone as rigorously trained in statistical method as you knows that isn't anything resembling data. There is more coverage of murder in the news today than ever before, but that doesn't mean the murder rate is rising. We cover the cases where shit goes wrong, but the thousands of other cases where nothing happens don't make the news.

posted by dfleming at 09:31 AM on May 07

NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose

Unless I was compelled by a judge to provide my emails, I'd tell anyone and everyone that asked for them to jump off a bridge.

And you're well within your rights to do so - however, if you're Tom Brady and you've just miraculously started texting and calling two lowly equipment guys the day and dropping off signed memorabilia after a big controversy (and they have that already via the phone records of the other guys), it is wholly reasonable for the broader public to adversely infer that you not providing evidence that it was the extent of what you did related to the case is part of a cover-up.

I guarantee those photos would "leak" into the public eye within 30 days of him handing over the phone. The attorney would say things about how his office didn't leak them, and the NFL would say they didn't have anything to do with the leak, and yet, somehow, they magically leaked.

You do realize thousands of phones a day are handled by police and attorneys (often celebrities) without every one ending in a leak to the public, right?

I guess I don't put a lot of weight in a guarantee based on totally unrelated people, sports, and cases. Some people are bad people and don't understand security ergo all people are bad people and don't understand security is silly.

posted by dfleming at 07:26 AM on May 07

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Colon is absolutely ridiculous - His KO/BB ratio at this point is 34:1.

I find myself enjoying watching him pitch in a way that I haven't since Greg Maddux - methodical, efficient, every pitch pinpoint perfect. For the sake of des femmes de la nuit, I hope that's the only Maddux tendency he's developed.

posted by dfleming at 04:35 PM on May 06

NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose

If my employer demanded my phone records I'd tell them to pound sand.

Yeah, except the part where he's texting and calling guys from work related to the investigation to do with his work and a problem that's potentially going to cost his employer reputation-wise, $-wise, and possibly player-wise. They had the other sides of the conversations which were EXTREMELY relevant to the issue. In an investigation with any actual teeth at all, that'd EASILY be grounds for a subpoena or at least adverse inference in civil proceedings for not bringing it forward.

I mean, you can make this as "fuck the man" as you want, but pretending Ted Wells is one step away from TMZ is ridiculous. The guy's a distinguished criminal attorney with a clear mandate and had a clear reason to want his phone that wasn't photos of Gisele.

posted by dfleming at 04:22 PM on May 06

NFL Investigator: Patriots Probably Deflated Balls on Purpose

Releasing it after the draft seems like an attempt to keep the controversy from spoiling anything big on the NFL Calendar.

Agreed. Even considering the fact most of the interviews were done in February and the scientific analysis was done even before that, this report clearly would've been in the NFL's office (as it's 243 pages and I've read most of it already) for weeks before it was released. If the NFL wanted this to be done before the draft, it would've been.

I don't even know what to do with this info. Probably is a big caveat word used over and over - there are a bunch of text messages from some knuckleheads to one another and a lot of attempt at figuring out what was humour and what wasn't. There's no smoking gun, but I think beyond a reasonable doubt that something happened is complete.

I would say there's probably a huge financial motivation for either of these two to come clean right now - they're likely to either be banned by the NFL, or by the Pats (as those texts about Brady aren't likely to be well received.) I suspect a whole bunch of folks would pay handsomely for the exclusive that indicts Tom Brady right now.

I don't even know how you sanction here - would a star player's substantial suspension be upheld on appeal based on a bunch of "more probable than not" level evidence? Brady's preference of the level of his footballs is not the same as directing people to do something illegal about it. Can you suspend him for more than a nominal amount of time based on the amount they've found - or do you suspend him as well for not complying with the investigation?

That said - at a Pats fan level, Tom not giving up his phone and email is full-stop bullshit and really is the piece de resistance on an otherwise fucked up year to try to remain a football fan. They owned the Colts already last year, not to mention they clearly didn't need it in the second half. They didn't need the help at all.

Further, he got up in front of everybody and said he was fully complying with the league. But that was a total lie, and for that, I say - fuck you Brady, I'm done. Hope the 4th ring was worth it because I'm am totally done with the Pats until you hang 'em up.

posted by dfleming at 03:49 PM on May 06

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

All five occurrences have been on/after 1999.

When did the 7 or 8-man bullpen come into effect? I went back to the '93 Jays' World Series team and they only had 7 guys who made more than 6 relief appearances that year.

posted by dfleming at 10:53 AM on May 04

SpoFi NBA Playoff Pick 'Em

Cleveland in 6
Atlanta in 6
Los Angeles Clippers in 7
Golden State in 6

Gasol rebounds in the East
Howard rebounds in the West
James Harden for threes
9.2 assists/game

posted by dfleming at 10:06 AM on May 03

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

You've got to hand it to AP's agent Ben Dogra - fresh off asking for a trade, he's now just asking for more money for the guy who's already set to be the highest paid RB in the league if his contract plays through. Who needs leverage or an agency when you've got a 30-year-old running back who missed a season for a suspension and has an image problem?

posted by dfleming at 12:13 PM on May 01

Chris Rock on baseball losing the Black market

God dammit - what is it with HBO's obsession with ensuring only US viewers see short clips on the internet? It is one of the only relics left who seem to force language restrictions on YouTube anymore.

posted by dfleming at 07:11 AM on May 01

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 2

Chicago in 6 +1 (Toews)
Anaheim in 5 +2 (Perry) +1
Montreal in 6 (Subban)
Rangers in 5 +1 (Nash)

GAA: Lundquist +1

posted by dfleming at 12:18 PM on April 30

What would happen if you played a baseball game and nobody came out to watch?

I am just now realizing how much the silence in play-by-play is masked by the crowd noise. The White Sox color commentators are clearly trying hard to fill more space than they're used to. This is creepy.

posted by dfleming at 03:28 PM on April 29

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

If you're a fan of watching teams fold like lawn chairs, the Raptors are in the midst of ensuring Dwayne Casey's going to be updating his resume tonight. They're a team with zero pride in their play right now.

posted by dfleming at 08:41 PM on April 26

Rangers Close to Trade with Angels for Josh Hamilton

It's not a bad precedent - effectively, the Rangers are dealing a modicum of salary relief and I assume some emotional value to the Angels in exchange for the potential services of Josh Hamilton.

I think the Angels are nuts in their valuation of Hamilton - they are effectively betting on Hamilton being a 1 WAR or less player over the next 3 years combined (despite his failings in LA, he contributed 3 WAR over two years.) Assuming he plays, he'll provide the Rangers significant value relative to their cost even if he's the 2014 Hamilton.

There's a potential argument that he's a negative in the clubhouse at this point (although I really question whether or not teammates care as much as the media and executives in MLB do about his drinking and/or drug use) but you could negate that by simply telling him to stay home.

The idea that requiring they send a 34-year-old AA-ball player the other way makes a deal substantially better is weird - it's window dressing. Why make teams make totally inconsequential moves in order to pretend like players aren't being sold from one team to another?

posted by dfleming at 03:34 PM on April 26

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Drayton Moore's response to Ventura:

"I think our guys have done an incredible job of managing some of the things that have came their way, early on in the season," Moore said. "It's not unexpected. When you win, those types of things happen. People are coming for you. That's part of it."

Yeah, the Giants are just brawling left right and centre. Oh wait...

posted by dfleming at 03:55 PM on April 24

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Rivera may have been the greatest relief pitcher ever (though I don't have the stats to prove that).

He was, but the best reliever in the world over 19 seasons is only a 57 WAR guy. Joltin' Joe's was a 78 WAR player, plus you could tack on about 18 (average of the two seasons before/two after) he lost having served in the military during the prime of his career. The other guys have double his WAR.

posted by dfleming at 08:38 AM on April 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Really happy to have picked up Yordano Ventura for this year's fantasy roster. A week after getting ejected for Brett Lawrie, now he's inciting a brawl in Chicago. He also cleared the benches April 12th by taking exception to a Mike Trout single. Yeesh.

posted by dfleming at 07:24 AM on April 24

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Happy to see Pete Rose where he should be.

Lots of these are mostly where they should be. But:


posted by dfleming at 04:06 PM on April 23

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I wondered who the Brunean (?) hockey player was, and it's getting by on a technicality - Craig Adams was born in Brunei, but spent his entire hockey career (from a small child) in Canada.

posted by dfleming at 11:55 AM on April 23

Remaining conviction against Barry Bonds is overturned.


(I'm off by four years, however.)

I imagine you standing in front of two cork boards - one, "statements I've made" and the other "truths" and yesterday, you peeled the cigarette from your parched lips, put it out in the cigarette tray next to you, and in a gruff voice whispered "you're going home, friend" as you moved another scrap of white paper to its rightful place.

posted by dfleming at 07:34 AM on April 23

Charles Barkley: Rick Carlisle should bench Rajon Rondo permanently.

I know the Lakers are desperate, but how can you watch this guy and even consider giving him a max contract at this point in his career? Sure his ceiling is high, but this kind of floor is not typical of a max contract guy.

posted by dfleming at 02:01 PM on April 22

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Bautista then goes and flips a proverbial bat in the post-game interview:

"I don't understand why they keep throwing behind us and hitting us. Ryan Goins got hit today, all of a sudden. The guy is painting and hitting his spots, and then all of a sudden one fastball gets away and hits him square in the thigh, nowhere near the strike zone. For a team that complains and whines so much about when their guys get pitched inside, they should manage their pitching a little bit better."

posted by dfleming at 12:47 PM on April 22

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I did - and while I absolutely love advanced metrics and predictive data, I found it really distracting during the game to have it on the screen. It is akin to the stock ticker at the bottom of the screen - yes, it`s information, but it`s mostly just forcing my ADD-addled brain to choose between watching a play and analyzing the play in real-time, and quite frankly I do enough of that as it is after-the-fact.

The perceived velocity vs. actual velocity and arm angle thing was kind of new to me (as I could see it not only on fastballs, but other pitches) but I`m not really sure I care that much about lots of the data it`s giving me. A moment-by-moment win probability stat I think I`d be all for though.

posted by dfleming at 10:38 AM on April 22

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Incidentally, a friend of mine is a Reds fan and expressed today he's seen "uncomfortable amounts of Kevin Gregg" so far this year. I commiserated, as my own upper bound for Kevin Gregg appearances is 0.

posted by dfleming at 04:28 PM on April 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Yeah - like, isn't the first thing you do when you cut a guy is call him into your office to tell him? It seems like Mr. Price was trying to game other teams by controlling information for a period of time and it backfired - which considering the dumpster fire that is the Reds right now, seems like a worse use of his time than encouraging his sorry team to play better.

posted by dfleming at 04:27 PM on April 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Bryan Price, manager of the Cincinnati Reds, went off on a bizarre, profane-laden rant yesterday at a Reds beat writer for reporting all the things he finds out about the Reds - particularly, players who are either being sent down and/or called up and haven't been notified by the team yet.

Particularly interesting is when Price lectures the writer on his own job: "Your job is not to sniff out every f****** thing is about the Reds and f****** put it out there for every other f****** guy to hear. It's not your job."

posted by dfleming at 01:19 PM on April 21