Recent Comments by hincandenza

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

Which means, honestly, precisely nothing. Again, if the Texans fumbled one fewer time a year, they'd have NE's numbers. Do you dispute this ratio, or the idea that so small a change would negate the entire story?

This guy is a charlatan, trying to drum up business with a viral story that plays to people's pre-existing biases. The premise itself is threadbare: it's 100% statistical cherry picking, making up some random stat no one's ever heard of before- seriously, "plays/fumble"?- and then find a way to produce an outlier by using all sorts of trickery and conflation, such as I mentioned above.

There are so many conceptual mistakes in this whole process. If you suspected the Patriots of some ball-related mischief, you'd do year-by-year comparisons to find when they implemented this supposed deflation technique of lowering numbers. I mean, unless you somehow know for a fact that the "tampering" not only gives them an edge in fumbling but has also been going on all 5 years, averaging the stats would actually hide or diminish any recent outliers.

But then, we know that's not why he chose a 5-year average: he did it because most teams can't even boast the same coach and QB over the past 5 years, much less winning the division 5 years in a row. If you wanted to manufacture a controversy, you'd find some way to magnify even the slightest difference.

Heck, his updated "Fumbles" and "Fumbles Lost" chart shows the Atlanta Falcons having an even more dominating rate than the Patriots, and the Saints not far off. While he was savvy enough to put the y-axis at 80 out of 150- almost as if to exaggerate the graph- he somehow wasn't clever enough to split the numbers between home and way, given how concerned he was with dismissing those Falcons/Saints numbers as irrelevant to his "Patriot cheating" narrative since they played in a dome. Well, they played their only half the year of course, but still... odd, don't you think?

There are countless other explanations for a junk stat made up this week showing some kind of "trend". The current top comment on the article is from some guy, Glenn Brown, who points out that BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 510 carries in his 4 years with the Patriots... and ZERO fumbles. Just in 2010 and 2011, he had 410 carries for 0 fumbles. 205 plays a year without a single fumble- and with about 1,200 total plays a year passing and rushing for the Patriots, that means this single player running 200 times a year without fumbling would probably show up as an extreme statistical outlier in team fumbling rates.

By the way, while he's not in the league now, BJGE left NE in 2012, and spent the next two years in Cincinnati. On his modified Total Fumbles and Plays/Fumble chart spanning 2010-2014, guess which outdoor team is now fourth in highest Plays/Fumble rate? Go on, make a wild guess.

This whole thing is a joke, and I wish Howard_T or grum could jump in to debunk this further.

posted by hincandenza at 12:05 AM on January 25

Ernie Banks, legendary 'Mr. Cub,' dead at 83

One of the truly greats, not just on the field but as an ambassador for his sport.

posted by hincandenza at 08:24 PM on January 24

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

The link isn't working for me (gives an error message about missing content) although I've seen this making the rounds, especially here in Seattle. Hey, maybe he took it down in embarrassment! :)

The article is innumeracy at its finest, but I'm too exhausted from #DeflateGate to keep running numbers. I've quickly copy/pasted a FB post I made a couple of days ago about this article. As always, I reserve the right to be wrong, gracefully. :)

-------------------

This has been making the rounds today. Seattle is quickly proving that its sports fans are not only fair-weather... they aren't exactly aces at math. ;) Even assuming these numbers are accurate:

FIRST, this "damning" graph is conveniently y-axis shifted so the trends *look* more exaggerated, in particular those fumble numbers. We should see the same thing without the deceptive framing. What are these supposed to be, national unemployment figures, ha ha? :(

SECOND, the far right of the graph shows 33 NE fumbles compared to Houston 40... over a span of five seasons. Wow, a whopping 1.4 fewer total fumbles per season. Surely, some kind of Belichickean dark sorcery is afoot here.

THIRD, since the 2010 season of this graph, the Patriots have 5 straight division wins averaging 12.6 wins per season (and never less than 12). The Texans in that same period have two division wins of 10 and 12 win seasons... but missed the playoffs the other years with win totals of 9, 6, and *2*. Again, it's really suspicious that New England has fumbled 7 whole times *less* than the Houston Texans in that same period.

FOURTH, this y-axis shifted graph is showing two values per team: fumbles per season, and plays per fumble. It doesn't, however, appear to distinguish between running plays and passing plays. How convenient. Unsurprisingly, a team led by a no-doubt Hall of Fame quarterback runs more passing plays than normal. Less running plays means less chances to fumble, means a greater ratio between overall offensive plays and fumbles.

FIFTH, the ratio of fumbles over this span between Houston and NE is .825 (33/40). If the Patriots otherwise executed the same number of plays over that time span- ha ha, that's surely the case- then inverting the ratio to get plays/fumble would turn 140 into... 170. Oh, but the perennial contender Patriots with their future HoF quarterback have a modestly higher ratio than that! Quelle surprise.

SIXTH, just so I'm not accused of picking the poor beleaguered Texans... if we compare Seattle to NE, we get an average of 10 wins per season (7, 7, 11, 13, 12) and find the Seahawks fumbled the ball on average just over 5 more times per season. Probably a lot of that difference in those 7 win seasons. Hm... I wonder what the fumbles per game (FPG) was in that span...

Year, NE, SEA
2010, 0.7 (1), 1.1 (7)
2011, 0.9 (4), 1.4 (9)
2012, 0.9 (5), 1.1 (8)
2013, 1.5 (24), 1.6 (26)
2014, 0.9 (2), 1.5 (22)

So NE is consistently elite but not exceptionally so when it comes to fumbling (see that 24th place rate in 2013). Oddly, Seattle started fumbling a lot more- near league worst- when they made their two SB appearances.

Maybe... maybe fumbling rate isn't such a great fucking stat to use to prove a point?

All this chart really tells us is:
a) How easy it is to mislead with statistics and rigged graphs
b) A consistently elite team will, over several years, make several fewer mistakes on average than other teams.
c) If we were to accept the original author's premise, the NFL really ought to be investigating the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos under suspicion of tampering with their footballs to the point of being comically *overinflated*. :)

posted by hincandenza at 08:00 PM on January 24

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

"My SpoFite is an Honors Student". :)

The latest is... still fuzzy. But the story that's shaping up to me is: the Patriots likely underinflate their balls a little, which is a quiet and customary practice around the league the NFL has never really cared about too much. After all, they take greater pains to regulate the kicking balls as a separate group, but pretty much leave the rest of the team balls to their own devices.

This ball boy, Eric Kester, is on record saying that in his experience, ball boys were encouraged to tweak the ball a little to their QB's specifications, because the refs didn't care and only touch-tested balls so you might get a couple tossed but mostly not, so might as well try. He worked several years ago, so that might not be the case these days. This wouldn't require involvement or knowledge from Belichick; it's probably something that the equipment managers know to do, to get a sense of when their QB likes the ball a little less or a little more and adjust it accordingly. Heck, Brady might not know the rule, he might just say "Ball feels a little stiff out there" or something and they keep adjusting per his tastes.

It sounds like the NFL suspected some pre-game deflation because of a formal complaint (and thus were obliged to check), but for some reason the refs or other officials didn't do a thorough pressure check initially. Thus when they did check at half time- possibly because a Colts staff member reminded them of their complaint, not so much due to "feel"- they found them a little low due to both less air and the temperature difference, then inflated them back up.

Oddly, the Pats played much better in the 3rd, so depending on where they measured and where they inflated at half time, it could be that Tom Brady just found out via a roundabout fashion that all this time he should have been playing with a more inflated ball. :)

I suspect no tampering in-game was ever done, and that the story got misreported as "intentional in-game tampering/deflating" because the unmeasured balls at kickoff were measured at half time and found light. The evidence is likely limited that the most the NFL can do is ding the Patriots with some minor penalty for not fully meeting the requirements- requirements that the NFL at the start of this game, and every game, basically never enforced.

posted by hincandenza at 04:53 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Well, I stand (possibly) corrected. In my defense, I did make sure to say that until more facts came to light, which until recently were very much missing. :)

There are now elements that I'm becoming aware of that it's not the pressure but the amount of air- as if leaked out- that was down when measuted at half time, then stayed back up after the game. And that apparently the NFL had been targeting them in a sting because of a prior complaint. Or possibly not, it's very hard keeping on top of this story, and filtering out biased or faulty reporting. That still doesn't implicate the main people; some overzealous Southie ball boy might be out there somewhere, freaking out because he knows sooner or later his name and pictire is going to be on national news.

Honestly, I should just tap out for a few days to relax, and just wair and see what the final verdict is from the esteemed panel of Internet sports historians. :)

posted by hincandenza at 07:43 AM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Thanks, Goyoucolts. Whatever our fandom differences, you've been a real mensch and a great example of sportsmanship here lately. :)

grum: Yeah, I'm kind of hung up on that a little, but not too bothered... when the story initially broke, I was thinking "Why 11 of 12? If it was an evil plot, wouldn't it be 12 of 12?" So maybe one got a little overinflated (accidentally), or maybe it was the one in the middle of the remaining unused balls so it had far less air surface temperature loss buried in the sack, like the middle rolls in the dinner table bread basket. But that's just me making some shit up for a post hoc explanation. :)

I will of course retract everything I've said- except the admonishments for us to not rush to judgment- if tomorrow the NFL releases hard facts that prove to be a smoking gun. Barring that, then hopefully soon the NFL would come out with more facts, including a prettier version of the work done above showing this was just what happens all the time when games are played in 50 degree weather or lower and exonerates the Patriots. They'd then further issue a statement that starting next season, they will keep game balls in a climate controlled container on-field and periodically rotated in and out, under ref supervision or something, to ensure all balls are consistently within the pressure range throughout the course of the game regardless of on-field conditions.

The hardline haters will never believe the "cheating" stories aren't true, or that no team or QB gets an advantage, but the league and fans can move past this (I hope) utter nonsense of a media tornado.

posted by hincandenza at 02:38 AM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

There's going to be some embarrassment when the facts come out and there's no "there" there, that this is all a fake story for drummed up controversy with no actual foundation- no real complainants, no real facts on the ground, just one person with an axe to grind that "forced" the media to talk about it, and thus compelled the NFL to "investigate" what they probably already know is a total non-issue.


Habeas Corpus
The first and most obvious question some- but nearly not enough- are asking is, "Is there even any smoke, much less a fire?". I mean, we can't even establish who started asking the question that prompted news reports and an investigation!

One person we can rule out: D'Qwell Jackson, the alleged Colt player who intercepted a Brady pass and claimed it was light. He has come out, on record, and claimed no, he didn't blow a whistle, he didn't feel the ball was any different, and didn't suspect anything or notify anyone. All he did say was that he asked someone to keep the ball for him as a memento: his first playoff interception, against Tom Brady no less.

So uh... who even started this story?

We're also four days in, and we can't get exact measurements and facts to be agreed on, and the NFL hasn't apparently interviewed anyone from the Patriots yet. We hear "two pounds" or "nearly two pounds", but we don't know how accurate that is or who is claiming to have observed that, or how it was measured, or where, or by whom. Shouldn't we at least be discussing specific measured pressure drops, and be comparing those to other measurements seen experientially in other games, so we can tell for sure if this is an anomaly even worth investigation?

Oh right- because the NFL has never cared before, they've never kept any kind of logs or records, and it's all just a fuzzy and friendly "Eh, ball seems good to me" when the ref checks it. This only looks like a "controversy" because no one is looking at any other teams, or any other situations. Also, most Americans are functionally innumerate, as my Facebook feed has been showing the last few days. :)


Does the science add up?
Thanks to Howard_T, we have this handy calculator to work with, which simply requires the effective pressure of the air in the ball (ambient pressure + pump pressure) and the two temperatures, converted from Fahrenheit to Kelvin.

Since we don't know actual starting figures, I decided to explore how much temperature change would drop the pressure in the ball, assuming we had a perfectly accurate gauge at all times, in various scenarios. I vary the starting PSI from 12.0 to 14.0 in .5 increments- so I can also look at an intentionally overinflated and underinflated ball, and initial temperature of the equipment room at 72, 77, and 85 degrees.

This is to demonstrate the expected changes in these various scenarios, to see if significant pressure drops- even below "legal" levels, would be expected- and how much.


Hard, Indisputable Facts
First, let's get some facts to work with- actual, hard, scientific facts, such as temperature and pressure in Foxboro, MA at kickoff and again at half time (estimated as 8:20). This data is from Weather Underground:

At kickoff: ~52.0 degrees, 29.75in @6:50PM ET, January 18th
At half time: ~52.0 degrees, 29.61in @8:20PM ET, January 18th

As you can see, temperature and pressure didn't change much over the course of the half on-field, but now we have a temperature and pressure (14.61) of the ambient atmosphere on the field. If you search for a Fahrenheit to Kelvin convertor, Google will have it built in to convert 52, 72, 77, and 82 degrees F into their Kelvin equivalents.

The one big presumption I had to make is that the adjustment due to temperature takes time, so the ball would "deflate" gradually over the half, and not immediately "spring back" to form when brought into a room, at least not for several minutes of exchanging heat with the surrounding room. I'm guesstimating, but I assume it would take at least several minutes to return to 72 degrees, based on this ESPN video showing how in 10 degree weather the ball drops to 10PSI after an hour. Amazingly, this video is from 2010. :)


Calculating the different Scenarios
Below is a hopefully straightforward table, built using the indisputable pressure and temperature above, along with the Gay-Lussac's law to determine an ideal estimate of end pressure after play. At each starting "verified" PSI of the ball and a given room temperature, we determine the PSI of the ball itself after a half spent outside at the above temperature and pressure.

.
Initial PSI of ball14.0
Effective pressure28.61
Room tempPressure on fieldChangeFinal PSI
8227.03-1.5812.42
7727.28-1.3312.67
7227.53-1.0812.92
.
Initial PSI of ball13.5
Effective pressure28.11
Room tempPressure on fieldChangeFinal PSI
8226.55-1.5611.94
7726.80-1.3112.19
7227.05-1.0612.44
.
Initial PSI of ball13.0
Effective pressure27.61
Room tempPressure on fieldChangeFinal PSI
8226.09-1.5211.48
7726.32-1.2911.71
7226.51-1.1011.90
.
Initial PSI of ball12.5
Effective pressure27.11
Room tempPressure on fieldChangeFinal PSI
8225.61-1.5011.00
7725.85-1.2611.24
7226.09-1.0211.48
.
Initial PSI of ball12.0
Effective pressure26.61
Room tempPressure on fieldChangeFinal PSI
8225.14-1.4810.53
7725.37-1.2410.76
7225.61-1.0011.00


Conclusions
I encourage you to double check my math, because given the amount of calculations, cut-and-pastes, and table building I probably made a couple of mistakes. You are also encourage to confirm my presumptions, my raw data, and my calculations.

But what I'm seeing above is nearly indisputable: the laws of physics make it clear that if the Patriots filled their ball legally- meaning between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI, or up to .5 PSI lower but still signed off on by a ref and wholly untampered with after that- that the end result would always be a football that naturally ends up always well under 12.5 PSI, and in some cases far enough under that the value is reasonably rounded up to "two pounds".

My own conclusion is therefore that that there is no evidence, not that we've been offered by the NFL as actual measurements and facts apparently not in science, that the Patriots or Colts in any way tampered with the balls.

In fact, the only way a team could have still had a ball measure between the "legal" 12.5 and 13.5 PSI after the half would be if it was originally inflated higher than 13.5- again, this could be done perfectly legally within the rules simply by knowing that in the past, the refs do an eyeball glance or quick feel to validate the balls are good enough, and wouldn't catch or care about it being 14.0 instead of 13.5.

  • It is possible the Patriots always inflate the ball a little less than 12.5 and/or raise the temperature in the equipment room... but are never called on it. This is possibly a minor rules violation... but since the refs consistently let them- and presumably other teams- use those balls without any complaints or rejections it's legal.
  • It is possible the Patriots always inflate to exactly 12.5, as the bare minimum, per Brady's preferences. In this case, the ball will still end up underinflated by the half by at least 1 PSI, possibly more if they- again, perfectly legally- inflated the ball in a room with the temperature turned up considerably higher than 72 degrees.
  • It is possible the Patriots always inflate their ball to 13.0 or around there- right in the middle- and end up with a ball that's .6 to 1.5 PSI lower depending on the room temperature, meaning they aren't necessarily even doing anything intentional about the ball at all- but can still show, rounding up, "almost 2 pounds PSI" lost.

Most interestingly, per the table above, the only way you could get a football to still be above 12.5 PSI after a half spent in that weather is to have overinflated it initially. If the Patriots footballs were deflated at the halftime measurement but the Colts were not, that could mean simply that Brady prefers them at league minimum (12.5) or a little less, and Andrew Luck prefers them at league maximum (13.5) or even more, leaving the Colts' footballs seemingly "untampered with" and the Patriots looking suspicious, when literally no malfeasance whatsoever occurred by either team.


But none of this math will sway anyone, not even here at SpoFi, I suppose.

Ah well... Go Pats. :)

posted by hincandenza at 01:18 AM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Howard_T does the math (new SpoFi column?) and asks the real questions:
- What was the exact psi to an accuracy of .1, when initially okayed and again when they were measured at halftime?
- What was the temperature in the rooms both times, and the other values that would affect pressure differentials?
- To what accuracy is the pressure gauge; are we talking a simple handheld pump with a dial, where "12.5 to 13.5" is an eyeball guesstimate between the 10 and 15 ticks?
- Importantly, what did Indy's balls do over the same period? Did their psi fall proportionately the same?

I expect we'll find the sign off by the refs is and always has been a casual affair where they glance at the consumer grade gauge and call it good. Maybe the balls were at 12, not 12.5, measured at the half as around 11, and called a "2 psi drop"... when really, the ball was inflated normally (maybe a touch shy, but hardly intentionally under) on a hand pump where we can only eyeball the pressure like the hour hand on a clock. But I bet that data never gets released, because it doesn't exist; no one cared before to be super accurate.

Until and unless the NFL releases all the above to prove some kind of tampering, I consider this a non-story and slur against NE.

posted by hincandenza at 11:58 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Jesus, grum, why not just kill them by firing squad and be done with it?

I'm not caught up on the very latest gossip, but last I saw on SoSH was that with a sufficient drop in temperature of 35 degrees between measure and field could acount for almost 1 psi right there. So before we start de-franchising the New England Patriots, let's be sure there is an actual malfeasance to punish, and not just the laws of physics or a mistake somewhere along the line.

posted by hincandenza at 10:24 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

How does the ref inspect the ball pre-game? Is there a pressure gauge handy, or does he just give them a once over and say "Good enough", and there was no malice? 11 of 12 suggests a systemic mistake to me, else why not 12 of 12 if a human were doing it on purpose?

I also lack a direct knowledge of how much different 2 psi feels. They say the allowed range is 12.5-13.5 ps which is already a 1psi range... so "2 psi less" just a fancy way of padding the outrage, by saying 11.5 is "2 less" than the high end of 13.5? If so, is it obvious by touch, or the kind of nuance only an elite few would detect casually? If we are talking about 11.5 psi instead of 12.5, then that's 1 psi off 12.5, and presumably the Pats would inflate to 12.5 as the minimum... would this be both not particularly large and also an amount that could occur from wide temperature changes?

I ask, because the refs are touching the ball constantly, placing it at the line of scrimmage after almost every down. They didnt notice either, for an entire half? That to me furthers the idea that they were "technically underinflated"... but not so much many people even on the field noticed, the issue was brought up, and the refs made sure they were properly reinflated before the second half.

Which the Colts shouldn't have requested: they were still in the game after a half played with these allegedly underinflated balls. If anything, the 1st/2nd half difference might suggest Brady et al were benefitting more from a properly inflated ball!

This doesn't change rcade's point, that even if you cheat without good reason or benefit, the intent matters. If there is compelling evidence any Pats staff did this on purpose, there should be punishments suitable to the offense. But other than media toolbags who thrive off fake controversy like Wilbon, the players are pretty copacetic about it, and seem to consider it a non-issue. That to me suggests it's not likely to be some grand conspiracy.

posted by hincandenza at 07:07 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Until we get more sourced facts, like dfleming notes, we're going on hearsay from unnamed people/reports, and I still don't know what the "truth" is even as to how footballs are normally repped, stored, and delivered.

I also saw the same story Rock Steady mentioned, where Aaron Rodgers prefers an over inflated ball. So this suggests this tampering is somewhat common, and doesn't even go consistently from team to team. Which does remind me of Spygate.

I also assumed the balls were shared- they don't swap football when possession changes, do they? I figured the balls were shared from a common pool supplied by each team then mixed together, so advantage/disadvantage is non-existent or at least not controllable. If they don't do that- they should.

I didn't even realize they had separate kicking balls, until the broadcast when one of the announcers mentioned during a weird delay that the ball was the wrong type and not suitable for passing (apparently they are rubbed up differently for varying slickness?).

The Pats have owned the Colts for three years, and won 45-7 in basically three+ quarters. Intentional cheating seems absurd for them to risk on a game they appeared completely and totally prepared for. Not that people don't sometimes cheat even when they don't have to, but until I hear more, an innocent mistake or at worst overzealous equipment manager is far more likely. Any draconian punishments would be wildly unfair at this point.

posted by hincandenza at 05:11 PM on January 21

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

NoMich: Your suggestion is still being reviewed by the Sportsfilter League Office. It'll probably be implemented and tested at the college level first. :)

Hm, grum makes an interesting argument that dovetails with rcade's notion, that offense/defense/special teams all can score. Maybe you could make it true HORSE, but with a single letter: home team gets the ball first on their own 20. If they score anything, the away team gets the ball on their own 20 and the same time to score at least as much. Score more and you win, tie it up and we go again, fail to score as much and you lose. If the home team fails to score and has to punt, the away team now gets a free possession from wherever, to score anything, and put the onus on the home team to respond in kind from the same punt catch spot or lose. If the defense scores off a non-punting/downs turnover (INT, fumble) that changes possession, that's the game- you failed to score, the other team did not. If special teams scores on a kick return etc, the other team gets one chance to respond when receiving a kick from the same spot.

It adds a dimension that would really wreak havoc with the McCarthys who would suddenly have to balance various risk taking moves. Given the nature of it, theres no reason to not go for it on 4th, unless your punt would put them further back ththan the 20yd line. And going for a FG, even a long one, might be worth the risk, or it might not. If your FG kicker is much better than his, and your defense playing well...

But honestly, just let them play for the full N minute quarter and you'll solve for most edge cases automatically. And maybe instead of double OT if it comes to that, you then have NoMich's punt, pass, kick competition. :)

posted by hincandenza at 10:39 PM on January 19

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

I think we've come to an agreement, rcade: we're talking the same language, but just quibbling on details. Good enough for me fot today, that's the spice of sports. :)

We're also in agreement that McCarthy was way too conservative all game, including when it most visibly mattered. I'll always appreciate the teams that go for it, like the FG fake Etrigan mentions, or the times NE went for it on 4th even with a lead. Didn't the NYT even start a "Fourth down bot" that would assess the value of going for it on 4th far more often? Late in the post season as you say is no place for the timid.

I like the beat the clock idea a lot, although it's almost too cool for pro sports. It's like HORSE with a clock. The only quirk: what if the first play is the 2014 opening Superbowl snap/safety on the Broncos. Does Seattle now get the ball back and Denver has a single shot to force a safety on a QB who can simply kneel? Or if its the Broncos who get it, well... good luck scoring at least two points on your first and only play before the clock runs back out!

posted by hincandenza at 08:50 PM on January 19

Patriots crush Colts in the rain

Ah, I see what you mean about that- I have that philosophy as a general playoff rule, that if you get blownout you aren't kicking yourself all off-season over what might have been. But you also make a very good point, that if instead Indianapolis suffered a 28-22 OT loss, it would have been almost a moral victory in terms of progress for the young QB and his team.

Apologies if I was casting aspersions on you, Goyoucolts, and sorry for your loss yesterday. And if NE wins their 4th SB in a couple of weeks, I'll even be content enough to call that a perfect capstone on Brady's career and wish you and your team the best of luck next season (except if you meet the Pats in the post-season again :) ).

But it's still an odd story, for all the reasons Howard_T names as to why it would be easily found out by any of the dozens of people who handle footballs for a profession- much less why a team that good would even need trickery.

posted by hincandenza at 07:42 PM on January 19

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

rcade: On another topic, I want to see the all-22 view of the Morgan Burnett interception with 5:13 left in the game. If he doesn't slide, it looks like he had a shot at a pick-6 or at least a 20- to 30-yard-return to put the Packers in field goal range. There were almost no potential tacklers on the side of the field he was running towards as he caught the pick.
We had a long debate about that while watching, and like you I'd like to see how wide open it was. The argument for was, like you say, go for the yardage to maybe even get in FG range. The argument against- which I was making at the time- was that you're already up 12 points/two touchdowns with 5 minutes to go in the game. Play safe, don't make big mistakes like fumble or turnover the ball. If he'd fumbled the ball after that interception, there's a decent chance Seattle could run it all the way in amid the chaos, and now it's 19-14 with 5 minutes to go.

It was the smart move at the time. Had they then got even a couple of first downs they'd have iced the game. Even going three-and-out, they burned 1:12 off the clock, and Seattle didn't get the ball back until 3:52 still down 19-7. Seattle didn't even score until 2:13 left; if GB recovers that onside kick, they could have taken a knee and left Seattle with 13 seconds to score an 8-point touchdown (and yes, I'm well aware of my previous statements on gaming the clock :) ).

But yeah, in retrospect... what a terribly managed end game by Green Bay.

posted by hincandenza at 07:33 PM on January 19

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

rcade: Trying to rationalize a scenario in which sudden death overtime isn't legitimate NFL football is like making a case against the forward pass.
Wait, what? You're having a different conversation now. I'm not making a case that sudden death isn't "legitimate" because it has no historical support. I- and I think Howard_T among others- am saying it's fundamentally not a "fair" method to accurately determine a winner, and thus should be changed. I mean, lots of things have a long historical basis as The Way Things Are Done. That doesn't prevent us from changing them!

The example I gave of stopping time before the end of the 4th quarter was using an intentionally ridiculous argument taken to its logical extreme. Why did Seattle "get" to stop the clock without GB even getting a chance to answer in kind, after Seattle scored and took the lead? Or if GB had won the coin toss and done the same thing? In my opinion, if we're being "fair", clock based sports should never end in the middle of a time period, excepting some event that makes the game itself unplayable on the field (hurricane, earthquake, etc).

And this gets back to the "two definitions of fair" that I believe trips up so many sports arguments. One definition says "fair" is an application of rules that is blind to whoever may currently benefit or suffer under them- this is your argument that all teams knew the Sudden Death rules, they've been around for decades, so who can complain? Yes, the teams weren't blindsided, nor are they held to different types of rules.

But another definition says "fair" is something striving towards justice, or accuracy in assessment. That a method of determining a winner is valid, justifiable, merit-based, and agreeable to all parties. If Seattle held on to that lead through the end of OT... no one in GB could really argue Seattle didn't win "fair and square". Each team would have had several possessions, and controlled how long they held the ball; you can't easily argue that GB losing after that hypothetical didn't truly lose.

I hope that clarifies what I mean by different conversation, that we're talking past each other because of different but equally valid definitions of "fair". I'm critiquing the current rules as unfair by that second definition, because they- in a timed sport especially- are not giving both teams equal and reasonable chance at victory.

Imagine soccer changed its rules and now penalty kick shootouts were done where they flip a coin after regulation, and the winning team lines up for 5 shots, and if they make any of them- bam, match is over. Other team doesn't ever kick at all. If that rule change for soccer were proposed tomorrow, would you think the rule "fair"? Would you be for or against such a rule?

posted by hincandenza at 07:12 PM on January 19

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

Well, the 15-minute limitation would still be possible, provided you had a similarly constrained resolution if still tied after OT for TV purpose. *koff* Such as my suggestion to have a track and field style kickoff, where each team kicks from 5yd further FG range until someone misses. Around 60 yards, shit's gonna get real. ;)

posted by hincandenza at 06:20 PM on January 19

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

They don't have the box score, but I'm curious who earned those two points for Bloomington. It was actually two free throws too, if you look at the halftime score (104-1), so at least one player on Bloomington was hustling in the low post. :)

I don't get the suspension at all. He did nothing wrong, nor did his players; like LionIndex observes, how much more insulting to be coddled like little children? From what I can tell, the Arroyo Valley coach did try to hold back, but other than taking all his players off the court and forfeiting the game you can't expect them to stand around like statues when the other team can't even score more than two points on free throws through an entire game. They scored half as many points in the second half, so... what more can they do?

The players on Bloomington are old enough to learn the lesson taught by such experiences. Sometimes life reminds you that you aren't destined to be a rock god or pop diva or rap mogul, supermodel or famous actress, sports superstar or billionaire playboy. It's important to learn, so we don't waste our best years locked in the daydream of basically winning the lottery, and instead get on with the business of just being happy with a perfectly normal and still wonderful life. People have forgotten this, I think, in the rush to be famous for 15 minutes.

So why were they even playing? That said, we all can agree these two teams should never even have been on the same court. One of the teams is clearly in the wrong division; Arroyo Valley, given their level of success against other teams, although Bloomington had lost a previous game by 91 so they were probably effectively at least two "divisions" apart.

So why were they even playing? Well, we have another version of the story here with some choice quotes:

Both Anderson and Bloomington coach Dale Chung said that they met before the game. Anderson said he told Chung he wanted to run his full offense for a half, and that Chung agreed. Anderson said the game was his final nonleague tune-up before the San Andreas League schedule began next Wednesday, and he wanted to prepare his players.

"This was our last game before we started league, and we were going to come out playing hard," Anderson said. "I wanted to let him know there was no harm intended, and that if he had any ideas or concerns just to let me know. We were going to play a half of basketball, at least. ... And he seemed fine with that."

Anderson said he did approach the referees with about six minutes remaining in the third quarter to begin a running clock, but, in accordance with high school rules, officials did not use the running clock until the fourth quarter. He said he benched his starters at the half and instructed his players not to shoot the ball until the shot clock got inside of 7 seconds in the third and fourth quarters. (emphasis my own)

Whoa whoa whoa. So unless this article or Anderson are lying, it sounds like he did ask for the very running clock that Howard_T mentioned and was refused by the refs until the 4th quarter.

Further, it seems Bloomington coach Chung knew this was basically a scrimmage match against a hugely dominant team, that his team would be wildly overmatched, and yet he still agreed to let this scrimmage be a full-court press for the first half at least.

Now, with the media attention, he complains that the other coach lacks ethics, and he and his players are victims somehow of bullying by a dominant team?!? If those quotes are accurate, it sounds like Chung- not Anderson- was 100% responsible for this game happening as it did, or any hurt feelings among his own humiliated players.

Assume they were humiliated at all; notice in either version of the story linked so far, we don't have any quotes from actual players about what they thought, or if they were even humiliated at all. I wonder why that is; maybe it ruins the narrative because they're more made at their incompetent coach that also led them to a 91-point loss in another game, and apparently keeps signing them up for joyless games they have no hope of winning.

Related stories My ancient memory is failing me more and more these days, but I believe there are two somewhat related stories that may have even made Sportsfilter.

  • There's this story from 2009 about a 7th grade girl's basketball coach who decided to teach them the full court press, to absurd success and some similar criticism.
  • A story I can't find right now is of a similarly outmatched game, where the dominant team suggested after the first half to just call it a forfeit, and then they all just shot around and practiced together in a great example of friendly sportsmanship.
The second story would have been ideal, if I've remembered the gist of it correctly, but you can't blame the Arroyo Valley coach for not thinking of that- at least, no more than I could blame Bloomington's coach for not making the same suggestion himself when he apparently agreed to have his team blown out in a scrimmage in the first place.

posted by hincandenza at 06:16 PM on January 19

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

All that aside, holy cow that game was a roller coaster to watch. The final TD was almost anticlimactic: everyone in the room in the Seattle home I was in hesitated a second- maybe making sure it was called a catch and TD, that there was no flag on the field- before erupting in cheer. Even with the excitement there was this sense of surrealness, like this isn't really happening since everyone a half hour ago was quietly resigned to thinking "Eh, good run boys, get 'em next year".

Now that I'm finally forced to root against Seattle with them facing NE, it's gonna be a rough next two weeks of trash talking on Facebook.

posted by hincandenza at 05:01 PM on January 19

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

I disagree with all of that except the word "full". :)

I'm with grum on this; just play out the quarter, and if you're worried about a tie after one OT, then maybe have fair method of conclusively and fairly determining a winner after. While grueling, the offense and defense are different sets of players: no matter how tired GB's defense might have been in not preventing that final TD, the GB offense had just been resting for several minutes and would certainly be majorly fired up to at least take their own shot at scoring after the Wilson-Kearse TD. I'd challenge anyone to find a single GB offensive player who'd say "Eh, kinda glad they scored, I was too tired to play any more anyway what with all the grueling I've been doing lately". :)

Also the "team worthy of the Super Bowl" part is odd to me; there's no handicap in professional sports, so the Packers don't have some NFL requirement to score more points in less time than their opponent. Average teams score a TD in about 20% of their possessions; sudden death means there is at least a 20% chance the game was just decided by a coin flip. Why even play the first 4 quarters, then? Just flip a coin before kickoff and go home early.

I think if we were striving for fairness and justice, we'd do one of the following:

  • Full-length OTs, no ties allowed: Keep playing OT quarters until there's a victor at the end of time. Brutal as hell, but damn exciting stuff
  • One full-length OT Quarter, ties allowed except playoffs: Similar to today, except we avoid the sudden death element
  • Shortened OT Quarters, no sudden death: Basically a shortened 8-10 minute quarter(s), played in full until a victor is determined.
  • Equal possessions like innings: The teams trade possessions like innings, and after each "inning" if the score remains tied they play again. Home team has the advantage of going second, so they know if a FG is good enough. This gets confusing thought with handling turnovers via fumble/interception
  • Penalty kick style decision: Boring as heck, but you could do something like teams trading FG attempts from increasingly far distances.
Probably the only unfair one is... exactly how they do it now, with sudden death. Call me a purist, but clock based sports shouldn't have sudden death, or if they do it should be fair (FG kickoffs, equal possessions, etc).

If Seattle can score a TD in overtime and then say "Hey were ahead- quick just stop the game clock and call it for us, we win!", then why can't GB just stop the clock with 3:52 left in the 4th and say "Hey look, we win!"? 99 times out of 100, they would be right, too.

posted by hincandenza at 04:57 PM on January 19

Patriots crush Colts in the rain

beaverboard: Don't know why McDaniels still had Brady throwing aggressively well into the third, with the outcome not in doubt and a good running game cranking away.
Well, given literally two hours prior we'd seen a team put up 15 points in a span of 44 seconds to come back from 19-7 with 3:52 left in regulation... can you blame them for piling on until it was truly not in doubt? The balanced mix of passing and (mostly) Blount running along was keeping Indy completely baffled, so why stop until the clock is literally against them- when the point difference meant NE could take a knee on each possession for the rest of the game and still have enough lead to just run out the clock two minutes at a time?

Goyoucolts Speaking of Belicheat, there is a report that the Patriots were deflating footballs against the Colts on Sunday.
Ugh, come on man, that's just an absurd accusation. Even the article admits that it's very unlikely and the Patriots have plenty of success that can't be chalked up to "cheating"... yet still at the end tries to sow seeds of doubt. This is a common American media technique: cast an aspersion, leave "doubt" in the mind of the viewer, when the whole thing is a lie.

The Colts just got completely smashed by a team that was firing on all cylinders today. This game was brutally lopsided, such that even as a NE fan I turned it off once the starters left the game. And honestly, if you're gonna lose, lose in a blowout so you don't spend all off-season kicking yourself like poor Brandon Bostick will be.

posted by hincandenza at 04:25 PM on January 19

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

I'd feel worse for the Packers, except a) they did it to themselves in several ways even before the OT, b) I live in Seattle and c) there's still an active discussion over in today's huddle thread about the Dez Bryant "incompletion" last week. Especially given that last one, GB was kind of lucky to even be playing today.

But yes, I think sudden death is dumb; play a shortened OT "quarter" of like 10:00 if you must, but otherwise let them play it out. It's a timed sport after all, this isn't baseball where events determine the end of a playing period, so switching to that model in OT makes no sense to me.

Besides, as the 4th quarter showed us, a whole heck of a lot can happen in the last few minutes of a quarter. :)

posted by hincandenza at 01:26 AM on January 19

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

I think I need a double espresso, just to help calm down from that NFC game... wow.

posted by hincandenza at 06:41 PM on January 18

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

Yeah, there was a little life in the third, but it feels like GB is just dictating everything in the game. Can't belive how bad Wilson has been.

Sure hope NE isn't this off-kilter...

posted by hincandenza at 05:25 PM on January 18

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

Wow, this game is not starting well for Seattle. Jesus...

posted by hincandenza at 03:56 PM on January 18

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Conference Championship Round

I'm pretty stoked that basically everyone with 8 or more points is picking Indy over NE, since it means my going with an almost all-New England line this week is either going to shove me into first... or drop me back into Costanza territory. :) It's a gamble, but since NE has averaged something like 48 points and a 20 point+ margin of victory over the Colts since Luck has come into the league... I like my chances.

Seattle over Green Bay, spread of 14
New England over Indianapolis, spread of 17
Most Points: New England
Most Passing Yards: Tom Brady
Most Rushing Yards: Marshawn Lynch
Most Receiving Yards: Rob Gronkowski

Fun fact I just learned today: Adam Vinatieri and Tom Brady have each made 5 SB appearances so far. With a win this Sunday, one of those two will go on to the Superbowl, and in so doing will tie the current NFL record for most Superbowls played in (6, Mike Lodish of the Bills/Broncos).

posted by hincandenza at 12:11 AM on January 17

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I like the idea, as initially I read that blurb from Etrigan as having many different colors for every type- but just the two colors should be manageable for any ref, and it's not like refs don't throw flags today that get shortly after declared basically a mistake (after a ref conference), no penalty.

But the flags seem like a solution in search of a problem, since now you've increased your bandwidth by a whole bit. The refs are already miked up all the time; why not have them simply say what the penalty is when they throw the flag ("Holding, offense, number 51") so someone in the broadcast booth can hear it in real time and put up a yellow or red "FLAG", or even more detail such as a yellow/red "Holding, #51" within a couple of seconds of the flag being thrown.

posted by hincandenza at 11:55 PM on January 16

NASCAR's Kurt Busch Testifies Ex-Girlfriend is an Assassin

That's... kind of presumptuous you guys. It's quite possible he's telling the truth about her claims. When even Jezebel has to reluctantly admit that evidence shows women initiate or commit 70% of domestic violence- certainly, that women are not solely the delicate flowers of our sexist, rigid gender role posturing- then maybe we shouldn't be so quick to assume Busch hasn't been victimized himself. Women are people too, so they can lie, they can be mentally ill, they can be deceivers and manipulators, and they can be physically aggressive and violent.

The article is painfully short on any details besides gossipmongering, but it does at one point state that Busch and others are claiming Driscoll said these things about herself. Maybe Busch hit her as described in a one time incident, or maybe he had a habit of being abusive, and he's making up crap now to deflect it. Or maybe she's making things up, just as she made up being an international assassin. Or maybe, improbably, she is an international assassin.

We could be dealing with one or both being deeply troubled people, but it's a little early to be certain of anything or to read from your Pocket Guide to Sexism as to how men and women behave.

posted by hincandenza at 06:19 PM on January 14

Packers Rally Past Cowboys, Who No Longer Love the Refs

hincandenza: I disagree that if a ball touches the ground at any point it's not a catch.
rcade: If you're responding to me, I wasn't saying that is the rule at present. I know the rule has wiggle room that lets the refs talk about things like "the process of the catch" and "completing a football move."

What Bryant was trying to do was something he's really good at: Make the insane catch near the goal, then contort yourself like Cirque de Soleil to get into the end zone. That's two football moves. I could see a ref arguing that he completed the first move, but the real refs and the TV ref both thought otherwise so it's hard to make a case for that.

No, I was responding to the general rule- and I think agreeing with you, that if it hits the ground after established control (which I think he had) the idea that it somehow undoes the reception itself seems a very poor way for the officials to interpret the ruling. Their interpretation was that he was still making the catch all the way to the ground, which... well, that's not what I think I'm seeing.

What Bryant seemed to do was several moves as you describe- starts in his right hand, goes to his left and stretches out to try to break the plane of the goal line- but I'm also not familiar enough with the rule and its intent to make a case. However, the replays didn't seem- to me- to be conclusive enough to overrule the initial call of completed reception.

grum@work: Of course, the same logic they used to determine Dez Bryant did NOT catch the ball (didn't complete a football move before the ball was jarred from his hands by contact with the ground) was then completely ignored when the Colts punter returner was obliterated by his own teammate (and a Bronco), causing (what was ruled at the time) a fumble.

The FOX talking head (Mike Carey, former NFL official) swore up and down that the replay official would agree with the call on the field...and then seemed stunned when they overturned it and said he was "down by contact".

What the heck?!? I don't understand that, and yeah, that's basically a very similar ruling applied differently.

And wow, how much different is that game if Denver has the ball on the Colts 30 with 6:58 left in the third quarter instead of Indianapolis possession?

posted by hincandenza at 01:13 AM on January 14

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Divisional Round

Ah, I'd not been able to find one that gave the historical value at kickoff instead of at the current time.

posted by hincandenza at 05:38 AM on January 13

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Huh, so know we know what it is that bill says. I always wondered that...

posted by hincandenza at 03:34 AM on January 13

Packers Rally Past Cowboys, Who No Longer Love the Refs

I think Dallas should have had that as a catch; I disagree that if a ball touches the ground at any point it's not a catch. It seems to me the hairsplitting is that how long after a catch can a player be said to have controlled the ball enough to turn any further drops/fumbles/hitting the ground as normal compared to any other post-reception events.

They replayed this incessantly on TV, and I still think Bryant had a catch, took two steps, fell stretching for the goal line, and the ball came loose- but it looked for all the world like a reception to me up to that point. Dallas ball at the 1 yard line.

I think Dallas was robbed today.

posted by hincandenza at 08:21 PM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Assume a broadcast game runs about three hours even, give or take a few minutes, and with the listed start times as 3:05pm EST for the NFC (Packers at Seahawks) and 6:40pm EST for the AFC (Colts at Patriots).

As it is today, this means the viewing times for watching both games are 12:05pm-6:40pm on the West Coast, and 3:05pm-9:40pm on the East Coast. Locally, Seattle viewers would watch their team from 12:05pm-3:05pm, and locally New England would watch from 6:40pm-9:40pm.

If they'd swapped the start times you'd get 12:05pm PST/3:05pm EST for New England and 3:40pm PST/6:40pm EST for Seattle . This means the viewing times for watching both games are 12:05pm PST-6:40pm on the West Coast, but 3:05pm-9:40pm on the East Coast. Which is the exact same if we switch teams and have the AFC play first on the East Coaat. The difference is that locally, Seattle viewers would watch their team at 3:40pm-6:40pm, and locally New England would watch from 3:05pm-6:40pm.

Other than letting Seattle viewers watch later in the afternoon, and New England viewers watch earlier in the day... it's a wash. However, two teams are in the EST time zone (NE/IND), GB is in CST, and SEA is in PST. So, all things being equal, might as well lean towards the East Coast bias, so one of the big games (NE/IND) is in prime time for both their fan bases, while the other two teams are in that post-brunch sweet spot (12/2pm respectively).

It actually kind of makes sense to me, considering different factors...

posted by hincandenza at 08:18 PM on January 11

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Divisional Round

Curious where you found that- was looking earlier and couldn't find game time temp.

In any case, if this Indy lead holds (but they don't exceed 35 points) I had a hell of a SpoFi pick weekend! :)

posted by hincandenza at 06:46 PM on January 11

Seahawks Bottle Up Panthers, Look Like Favorites to 'Re-Pete'

This team is scary as hell if you're an opposing team, and they didn't even have full Lynch beast mode among the fireworks this week. When they're firing on this many cylinders, they are monstrously good.

I'm a long time NE fan living in Seattle, so have seen them play regularly, and I have expected to see those two teams face off in the SB this year for a good month now. But NE and Tom Brady would, as beaverboard sagely opined in the thread next door, have gone full circle and will be facing the same long odds chance of beating Seattle as they did in winning their first Superbowl against the Rams.

But jesus, is Seattle a great freaking team... it is a joy to watch them play.

posted by hincandenza at 05:56 PM on January 11

Patriots Edge Ravens as Belichick Displays Some Trick Mojo

I agree with Howard; three short run plays, even if for a loss when snapped right as the play clock ran out and moved around behind the line of scrimmage before taking a knee might burn a few seconds off the clock... but at risk they get fumbled or something else goes wrong and puts Baltimore in possession on the Patriots side of the field. I was also asking why not intentionally take a safety; if the punter can burn 5 seconds running around before a knew, then hooray!

However, at the end of the day, this seems both against the spirit of the sport, and more importantly not worth the risk. The safety gives them 2 points, you're still punting- and now you have a 2 point lead and 10 seconds left. A good punt return could easily put them in long FG range, and you dont have that 4 point buffer anymore!

What they did was burn as much time as possible off the clock with knees, then a good punt puts them back well into their own territory with time for like 1, maybe 2 plays. If they can hail Mary (and they almost did!) then you tip your helmet. But you're dedefense ought to be able to prevent a two-play TD with 10 seconds left to get to the AFC Championship game.

While the Patriots haven't won a Superbowl in 10 years, they are consistently elite, every year (5 straight byes). When in doubt, trust in Belichick. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:45 PM on January 11

Patriots Edge Ravens as Belichick Displays Some Trick Mojo

Jesus, that Ravens/Patriots game was insane. I think I'm still hyperventilating...

posted by hincandenza at 08:54 PM on January 10

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Divisional Round

Also, we appreciate you doing this, but for the next week can we get at least a 1 day lead time? 4 of the top 6 scorers from last week didn't even get a pick in on time this week.

posted by hincandenza at 04:37 PM on January 10

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Divisional Round

Howard, that was awesome. You reminded me of an old "Sons of Sam Horn" forum poster named Jose Melendez who'd write these hilarious "Keys to the Game" posts before every Sox game. :)

New England over Baltimore by 17
Seattle over Carolina by 20
Packers over Dallas by 10
Indianapolis over Denver by 10

New England with the most team points.
Marshawn Lynch, at home, in the playoffs? Yup, most rushing yards
Bruce Irvin of Seattle gets a sack this weekend
16 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff in Green Bay.


I assume temperature is based on the listed Lambeau field temperature at kickoff, and the sack will be awarded even if it's shared (i.e., if a named player gets half a sack)?

posted by hincandenza at 04:35 PM on January 10

South Korean PGA Golfer May Be Conscripted into Military

Exemptions aren't really that odd since (and I arrogantly say this having never served :) ) I assume in the modern military, beyond basic fitness the skills are not about strength or endurance but use of sophisticated military tools. However, if SK is a country with mandatory 1 or 2 year service periods for young men/people, then I'd agree an exemption would seem unfair, even for a pro golfer. Of course, I'd assume people would serve in their 18/19 years... how did he even make it to 28 without doing his duty?

But generally, exemptions for the athleticly elite (or others) isn't that surprising, since we don't force march foot soldiers and pikemen for days across Europe anymore, or have pitched sword fights in a muddy field, so someone who's 5'2" and has asthma can still follow orders, work well in a group, and aim and fire as well as any Olympic track and field star.

Well... maybe not specifically the biathletes. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:50 PM on January 08

Four players voted into the baseball Hall of Fame

I think Bill Simmons' Pyramid of Fame works, or something shaped like the Guggenheim.... you need a minimum to get in, but your vote total determines where you are. So a Jim Rice or Delgado get in, but they're clear first floor types. A Ruth or Williams? Eye of the pyramid, most exclusive. And over time, curators can move people up and down, but someone is a "Hall of Fame" player by getting in, no matter what floor. Heck, maybe all players get into The Hall by service time alone, but the Aaron Boones get minimal mention display, like the first floor is team-by-team, celebrating the history of the franchise and players of that team, from the Hank Aarons to the Moonlight Grahams.

I like it because it shifts the arguments from "How is Rice in the Hall but not Delgado/Edgar Martinez/Mike Piazza/etc" to "We'll of course celebrated luminaries of the game's history are in, we're just debating whether so-and-so is real inner circle, or more 2nd/3rd floor". Less binary, and more inclusive of the games history... while still enshrining the true elite. And if your hometown hero is in under these new rules, you have a reason to visit his plaque.

posted by hincandenza at 03:41 AM on January 07

Four players voted into the baseball Hall of Fame

... all of which I (and probably you) would agree are reasons to suggest those voters no longer be eligible.

posted by hincandenza at 08:15 PM on January 06

Four players voted into the baseball Hall of Fame

grum@work: Annual rant:

Anyone that gave a vote to [players listed with less than 10 votes] should lose their voting privileges. With a limited number of ballot spots, and a large number of legitimate choices, wasting a vote on [name] shows a lack of respect for the position they are in.


Actually, I disagree slightly. With 10 ballot positions a year there's more than enough bandwidth to promptly fill the Hall with the deserving- provided they didn't waste that space by omitting names out of principle. I'm less concerned by the "Hey old pal, I'll throw you one vote as a charitable act" that gets old professional colleagues like an Aaron Boone a vote here and there just to say it happened, than I am by some ballots intentionally leaving off players who were by any measure "inarguable", which only forces subsequent years to be that much more crowded.

I think there are 549 ballots, and yet 15 actual, professional watchers and cataloguers of baseball said of Randy Johnson "Not quite enough, maybe next year, son", and 49 said the same of Pedro fucking Martinez?!? I get that Pedro and Randy were not their stellar selves in those last 3 or 4 seasons, but who in their right mind has a ballot, looks at Randy Johnson and sees things like:

  • 309 wins *(22nd)
  • 4800+ strikeouts (2nd)
  • 10.91K/9IP career (1st)
  • 5-time Cy Young including 4 in a row (2nd)
  • 10x All-Star
  • 9x strikeout champ
  • World Series champion and World Series MVP
  • A no hitter and perfect game, one in each league
  • 20K game
  • No PED or similar controversy or scandal
  • Quite a few more single game, season, or career accomplishments too numerous to recount

... and says "Eh, that's not Hall of Fame material". I mean, Jesus tapdancin' Christ!!! I'd challenge any of those voters to find me 4 pitchers in the last 30 years- since 1985- who were even arguably "better" than Johnson. I can think of only three who wouldn't get you laughed out of the room: Clemens, Maddux, and of course fellow electee this year with a whopping 91.1% of the vote, Pedro.

So how does his incredibly storied career not merit 100%? To hell with that stupid tradition, I say if you fail to include a player who otherwise received 95% of the vote twice in any year, you lose your voting privileges next year automatically. Fail to include 95%-ers in 2 out of 4 years, you lose privileges for 5 more years.


I'd make a similar detailed rant about Pedro who was at his peak arguably the single most effective and dominant pitcher in history... but as a lifelong Red Sox fan, I'd probably get so emotional I might punch a wall before I got finished typing it up. I mean, at least he's in the Hall; I might have straight up murdered the first BBWAA member I saw if he somehow didn't make it this year. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:37 PM on January 06

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Wild Card Round

Someone can check my math, but this is the cheat sheet for scoring your round.

GameWinner (1 point)Exact margin (1 point)Allowed spread (1 point w/winner)
Arizona@CarolinaCarolina118-14
Baltimore@PittsburghBaltimore139-17
Cincinnati@IndianapolisIndianapolis1611-21
Detroit@DallasDallas43-5
Extra CategoriesWinner
Highest Scoring team (1 point)Baltimore (30)
QB with the most passing yards (1 point)Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (376 yards)
Player with an Interception (1 point for any)Antonio Cromartie, Arizona
Luke Kuechly, Carolina
Tre Boston, Carolina
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore
Darian Stewart, Baltimore
Kyle Wilbur, Dallas

I missed the first two games, but even if my Extra Category guesses are accepted despite the late submission, I still got only the 1 extra point for Luck's yards, giving me a whopping 2 total points (out of a possible 15) with Indy's win over Cincinnati. Whoohoo. :)

posted by hincandenza at 11:09 PM on January 04

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Wild Card Round

Ugh, embarrassing edit snafu, as I changed some choices. That should obviously be Andrew Luck of Indianapolis. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:32 PM on January 04

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Wild Card Round

Drats, I missed this post before Saturday's games, so I'll try to squeeze in my predictions on the games/extras that are still up in the air.

Arizona at Carolina
Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Detroit over Dallas by 7
Indianapolis over Cincinnati by 10

And these three extras, if allowed to pick on them as well. I chose only from the teams that play on Sunday, which can be an advantage or disadvantage; in any case, I hadn't even read/watched any news about today's games yet.

Indianapolis with the most points
Andrew Luck of Dallas with the most yards thrown
Glover Quin of Detroit with an Interception.

posted by hincandenza at 08:03 AM on January 04

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

wut?

Is that a typo, or is there some penalty-specific reason you could have a 160 yard drive?

posted by hincandenza at 06:33 PM on November 02

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

That should be a FPP (god knows we need more). I was kind of hypnotized by that.

posted by hincandenza at 04:08 AM on October 31

Giants Win World Series

Congrats to San Franciso, although I was rooting for underdog KC so we could get a champion who hasn't won recently. Besides, if people could root against a 19-0 Patriots season or any more success from the Sox simply out of spite/jealousy, I'm free to root against any other dynasties as well. :)

I still don't fully understand Bumgarner getting a 5-inning "save". If the initial starter is ineffective, doesn't the official scorer have discretion to choose any reliever he or she feels contributed most to the win, even if it was not the pitcher of record when the final lead was taken? I thought it was originally a win, they even mentioned it on air in like the 8th or 9th after Joe Buck mentioned the 5 inning save and corrected himself shortly after. So why did it turn it from a win to a save a while later?

Could use some Howard_T wisdom on this...

posted by hincandenza at 02:48 AM on October 30

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

rcade: Jarrod Dyson getting caught stealing last night raises a question: Can the player making a tag push the sliding runner off the bag? To me, it looks more like a push by Jonathan Schoop than an overslide by Dyson. I thought it was weird the TBS crew never even suggested that possibility.

I caught up with the recap on MLB Network, and they really dug into this one. From what I gathered, it is of course not a legal move on the part of the fielding player; somewhat similarly, there was a game-deciding big play during the ALCS last year I believe, where an innocent play at 3rd was ruled interference because the Red Sox 3rd baseman was very arguably "interfering" with the runner while going after the ball thrown from home.

What MLBN was saying last night is it is purely a judgment call, made at the discretion of the umpire. However, because the question is one of intent, it's apparently not something that can be called for in instant reply- meaning, Ned Yost couldn't contest the play and demand a replay, because the umpires would say "No, he's clearly off the bag at one point" and they wouldn't assess the "intent" portion as a replay matter.

For whatever it's worth, in my opinion even after multiple replays, I couldn't say with 100% certainty that it was a clear shove, as opposed to part of the sweep of the glove. It was clearly a tag with a lot more force behind it, which MLBN went on to report was an actual gameplan from Showalter to keep the Royals closer to the bag by tagging aggressively and holding the glove there, since the Royals tend to overslide the bag a lot.



grum@work: Very cool! I bet it will be in broadcasts real-time in the next few years. I do like that style, where you can get a clear sense of how close they're getting, when the throw is released, etc, all as one motion. They'll have to come up with a good way to cut to the camera focused on the tag smoothly, however.

posted by hincandenza at 12:08 AM on October 12

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Crazy day of sports yesterday!

We had two noteworthy college games that end in the final seconds- the ASU/UCLA game was mentioned in yesterday's huddle, but did anyone else catch the Cal/WSU game?

It was a real defensive showcase! WSU's QB Connor Halliday threw for a record 734 passing yards along with with 6TD/0INT (his 7th was called back as not a catch, and they ended up getting it as a running play instead) and it still wasn't enough as they took the 60-59 loss, after missing what should have been a gimme 19-yard FG with mere seconds remaining. Cal's own QB threw for 527 yards and 5TDs/0INT, so unsurprisingly this game set several college records. Not to mention the time in the third quarter when Cal's Treovr Davis ran back two consecutive punt returns for 100 and 98 yard TDs.

And then you have a couple of Divisional Series games to talk about... oy vey.

posted by hincandenza at 04:12 PM on October 05

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

My specific question about WAR and position with ARod and Jeter is, assuming they'd each play the other's position about equally well (or better/worse if you want to speculate), how much would their WAR change simply by putting SS or 3B by their names. The napkin math is they'd each go up/down 5 wins over the last decade, possibly more if they were each better suited to the other's position (i.e., that Jeter would play 3B better than ARod and vice versa).

My general double-counting issue with WAR is that it grants a blanket bonus for defensive position while also counting their actual defensive contribution- positive or negative. If Jeter for example were a below-replacement level shortstop (and your last post above suggests he was about break even compared to replacement level?), why should he get a positional bonus? I could put David Ortiz at shortstop, he'd play it really poorly and lose points for that, but apparently that would also swing his WAR from -15 runs to +7.5 simply by having him put on a glove. He'd still make some plays, it's not like he'd be a statue, but he'd miss a lot of plays in his zone, plays a AAA replacement SS would make and ultimately cost his team significant runs.

To my way of thinking, the positional bump comes from the number of plays over the number of chances. The goal is to get 27 outs and have more runs than the opposing team, and all outs are created equal. Of course, more plays are generally made involving a SS or CF than by a LF or 3B, which is the root of their greater value; you want your best defenders touching the ball the most, same as you want your best hitters getting the most at-bats.

A player who played poor shortstop would actually cost his team more runs than playing a replacement-level LF. Similarly, a great defender will make more outs- and thus save more runs, and thus have a greater defensive WAR- than the average, and in a position where they make a lot of plays that can be substantial! For example, in 1999 Andruw Jones lapped the league and had nearly 100 more putouts in CF than the next highest person (and the 10th highest all time), for a defensive WAR of 3.8. He was worth 3.8 more wins than a replacement player just with his glove!

Which is great, but he doesn't need a CF positional bonus: he already got it by having a chance at and making 492 putouts on balls hit in his general area. Again, if we could put David Ortiz (not to pick on the guy) in CF on that same team, he might be lucky to make 1/3 of the plays Jones did, and thus would be a huge negative in the field, and promptly put back at DH. But someone has to play each position, and in the case of ARod and Jeter, the wrong person was in each by manager's discretion.

Now, separately a GM would clearly want to know if they were hiring a SS or a 1B, because a SS with a +3 WAR glove is rarer than a generic hitter with a +3 WAR bat. But from the assessment of WAR as "wins above replacement" I think it should be more position neutral. If you play a position and have a net positive runs saved (or negative runs allowed) over replacement, that should alter your WAR.

Just my two cents...

posted by hincandenza at 04:24 PM on September 27

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I'd be interested in your take on this, grum: one of my long-standing dislikes about WAR metrics is how much it seems to favor, or even double-count, positional adjustments. I.e., that a given offensive output is worth more or less based on the position you play (which I will still believe is a flawed analysis in WAR), on top of the defense elements of WAR.

My own misgivings aside, when A-Rod went to the Yankees any sabermetrician would tell you that A-Rod was the clear choice for SS... which of course isn't how the Yankees handled it.

So: how much would their WAR values change if they'd done the right thing from 2004 onward, with Jeter at 3B and A-Rod at SS?

The napkin guess is that the positional adjustment alone is +5 runs from 3B to SS, so half a win a year over 10 years = ~5 wins more for A-Rod and ~5 wins less. But that would be leaving aside the likely defensive adjustments; Jeter is often criticized for not being good moving far to his left ("pasta diving Jeter" being the joke in Red Sox Nation), which is somewhat less important at 3B.

Jeter cost the Yankees collectively quite a few wins with his horrible SS glovework, where A-Rod was still about replacement level or slightly better at 3B (and a win or two better than replacement at SS). Presumably, both players would have become better defenders by each switching to the other's positions.

In addition, Jeter might collectively have been worth more WAR since while he'd lose the positional adjustment bonus, he also might have been replacement level or so at 3B which would potentially bump his overall WAR well up. Similarly, A-Rod would benefit his WAR with that positional adjustment- because his offensive stats in his prime would be even more godlike at SS- and from what I can tell at he did leave a win or two on the table in the defensive falloff from SS to 3B.

It seems like the Yankees literally left several wins on the table each year by playing these guys at their wrong positions (and as a Sox fan- thanks, guys!). I'm curious if we could go back and guesstimate how each would play the other's positions, and what the raw runs/wins and positional adjustment would have played out.

posted by hincandenza at 12:20 AM on September 26

Giancarlo Stanton Hit in Face with 88-Mph Pitch

Yeah, it'll be great if Stanton makes a full recovery, and him not apparently needing surgery and having no concussion is great news. It means he should physically be fine by next season, since at 5.5 back in the WC, there's no reason for him to rush back, and as Howard_T observes, hopefully he won't internalize this and never quite play as well.

I think Fiers is blameless, from my take on the Must C video. The pitch to Stanton looks to just tail away late, or Stanton wouldn't have been swinging at it. Same with Johnson; both were swinging into a pitch that had some nasty late break, but I don't think Fiers meant either to even be a brushback pitch at all (and as rcade put it, was visibly distraught). Plus, if a pitcher had that kind of late break and control to intentionally fool a batter so bad that they swing away while getting hit in the face, he'd be a perennial 30-game winner.

Still, just an ugly at-bat; beanballs, or the line drive back to the mound, are just gut-wrenching to watch; a stadium so quiet you can hear a pin drop, hoping that the guy is alright. That's gotta be a first, right? I'm sure we've had people strike out swinging on a pitch they got hit by before, but twice in the same at-bat, much less against the pinch-hitter?

posted by hincandenza at 05:39 PM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

That's just unbelievable. I think that's the argument, but I think it's the right call, although Howard T should chime in on this one. I believe if you swing and don't make contact- including if it hits you, whether on the body, hands, or even face- it's a swinging strike.

posted by hincandenza at 05:28 PM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

In his and the NFL's small defense, the karate kick did look like an accident when he failed to leap over a guy he thought was going to tackle his legs. Whereas at least the sloppy socks is a dress code violation that is preventable.

posted by hincandenza at 12:39 AM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yeah, his whole year has been bad; shades of Willie Mays playing past his prime.

And yet we know that won't happen- although not impossibly far back at 4.5 back on September 11, the Yankees chances were already minimal; ESPN had them at 1.8% to even get into the wildcard game. This season was basically meant as a lap around the league for Jeter, and they can't very well sit him since he might be the biggest reason for ticket sales in away cities.

Which I'm totally cool with, because with Boston also sucking hard this year it's nice to see some new teams in the hunt in the AL. I can take some small comfort that the local Mariners team still has a decent and totally unexpected shot to make the playoffs. It'd be a tough path, since Detroit and KC might be splitting the AL Central/one wild card spot, so unless Seattle can push past both of them and/or Oakland, there's no room.

Not that anyone in this town cares anyway, with the Seahawks back on the field and not missing a step from their title run just a few months ago. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:29 PM on September 11

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released

No, I figured I'd get plenty of disagreement since there was uniformity about how awful Goodell handed this, and why Rice should go, etc... not things like Etrigan saying he'd add me to his killfille. I thought this was a place where, so long as we weren't personally attacking each other, civil discourse and disagreement was possible. "plonk" is so classically MeFi, and I'm sad to see it here.

And I wish you wouldn't put words in my mouth, grum; you're better than that. You even stated my key point yourself just above: "many, many years ago the NFL made a HUGE mistake by deciding to apply punishment for actions that occurred outside the game and had nothing to do with the NFL". That was at the heart of my post: it had been dealt with as a criminal matter, and the NFL shouldn't even have gotten involved in the first place, much less months later just because of one media outlet. grum, you even opined on how the NFL should have handled these issues from the very beginning with a hands-off approach, and there's no reason they can't start doing. We very much agree on that point: the NFL shouldn't be involved in this or other criminal/civil matters that are off the field.

Further, I'm really not a fan of this broader trend in recent years, this PR-driven idea that until the angry twittering hordes have been sated in their lust for vengeance and biblical retribution, you simply must keep punishing private individuals in some publicly visible way. I mean, the courts already investigated this and handed down a verdict and judgment, and the couple themselves seemed to have moved on. That we're even revisiting this publicly, or with the NFL, seems ridiculous to me. You all can say that's how it is, but I'm saying that's not how it should be.

Lastly, the point I was making that people seem most het up about is that domestic violence is not a one-sided affair, whatever the exact stats, and that no one should have to suffer from domestic abuse simply because of their size or gender. I'm not suggesting if someone attacks you that you get to go medieval on their ass way beyond the point of deflecting/stopping the attack, but throwing a punch when someone comes at you is almost instinctual, and provided that's all it is- one punch- it's justifiable even if there's a huge disparity in size. That's what I saw on this recent video; as she comes at him he jabs out, she goes down instantly, and he doesn't keep hitting her. I even stated that I was a little concerned that he seemed unpanicked at her being out cold, but not being privy to all the details wasn't going to project ideas into Ray Rice's head.

Shit happens when people start fighting, that's why people should avoid starting fights (whoever started this fight, we may never fully know). But people still cling to these gender roles and ideas about male strength and an almost Victorian-era believe in the fragility of women such that they believe a grown woman should be able to freak out an attack anyone, so long as they're larger- the person attacked simply has to take it. Hell, when women attack men, even violently, it's a friggin' punchline, like we saw with the Solange/Jay-Z situation.

There's a clear double standard at work when it comes to male and female violence that I call "incredibly sexist". For example, we have Hope Solo arrested for attacking her sister and underage nephew back in June, and she's still on the playing field, setting records, while she awaits a November trial. So why is that not more of an outrage? You have a 32-year-old finely conditioned physical athlete in peak condition getting drunk and beating up two civilians in a domestic abuse case, yet she's not even suspended while the trial looms. But Ray Rice is re-suspended indefinitely by the NFL, even after they already suspended him, and even after his legal issues were resolved in what I'd say is the only meaningful arena, the court system.

Why?

posted by hincandenza at 01:42 AM on September 11

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released

Yeah, I always was hoping this place would eventually turn into the cesspit of groupspeak that Metafilter became. Lord knows, no one who replied seemed to do more than cherry speak key quotes and strawman the shit out of this.

Plonk, indeed.

posted by hincandenza at 05:06 PM on September 10

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released

I guess I'm the lone wolf here, because I think that:

1. Domestic abuse isn't solely a male on female problem As much as archaic and sexist people like to pretend otherwise, the apparent truth is that domestic abuse is fairly gender neutral, with each gender having roughly equal splits as offenders. I've seen studies suggesting a 40/60 female/male split, as well as ones that suggest more severe physical violence actually skews towards female perpetrators (indeed, apparently lesbian couples have the highest incidence of domestic abuse). It's certainly not unheard of for a woman to physically attack her mate, or to initiate violence, and I for one think the "but a MAN doesn't EVER hit a WOMAN" moral is old-fashioned and incredibly sexist.

So barring more information, it's reasonable to ask if she did in fact start or escalate things; the extended video on TMZ starts with us seeing Ray Rice on his phone by a large pole. His fiance walks up, hits him in the face or chest without apparent provocation, then they head into the elevator, after which she apparently slaps at him again while they were standing by the buttons, he slaps her back, she then comes at him when he delivers the knockout blow. That, at east, is how I see it.

Now, that said, his reaction afterwards is... well I'll admit it's kind of weird because he doesn't look particular... upset? Which makes me wonder if they've been this volatile before, or if he thinks at first she's faking, or whatever. But then, that's me projecting my thoughts of how I'd react, so it's not very meaningful.

2. Don't hit people if you don't want to be hit I mention this as an addendum to the above, only because I think it's important- and perhaps you'll think me a caveman, but if I went up to an NFL player and took a swing, no one would feel bad if I got knocked out. So if you think it's bad when he defends himself from a woman who is slapping at him and coming at him because she's a woman... then you are being sexist.

3. Janay Rice is apparently on Ray Rice's side As much as we might hate to admit it, Janay Rice allegedly went on to say (as BornIcon noted in that deleted tweet) that she regrets the role she played in this whole event. I don't understand why, if that's true, the tweet should have been deleted, or is shameful, other than believing some RadFem nonsense about how all women are Victorian-era delicate flowers and all men- especially black men- are savage beasts of lust and rage.

I don't believe that, so I think it's hardly implausible she genuinely regrets the night. Maybe she does honestly feel she did things to provoke him until he finally slapped/hit back. Or maybe she just wants this to go away, since as he is now her husband she certainly doesn't want their household taking such a severe financial hit. And she didn't seem to hesitate to continue with the wedding, so this may have been a one-off event that hadn't happened before or since and thus she forgave him whatever sins she feels he committed- or she may feel she instigated things and now they've escalated beyond her control.

This doesn't excuse his actions- or hers- and obviously the state has a vested interest in pursuing domestic violence investigations despite the protestations of an alleged victim (because there could be additional force involved in making them ecant, or change their story, or want charges dropped). But to me, it suggests- along with the video- that Janay Rice thinks this was at worst an isolated incident, and one she may or may not have provoked in some fashion, and therefore the law felt that a first-time offense would be best addressed by mandating court-supervised counseling and dropping the charges.

In other words, if Ray and Janay and the police and the courts think this is a settled issue (unless it happens again), then why should the NFL be suspending Ray Rice additionally, months later, just because a sleazy online tabloid wants to milk it for a little more ad revenue?

4. The NFL is not a legal, investigative body The other "scandal" is that the NFL is to blame because they "only" talked to law enforcement and thus didn't get the more complete video... why, exactly, is that bad?!? Shouldn't law enforcement *be* the experts on conducting a thorough criminal investigation? I'd hope the police would talk to the casino and get all relevant media, such that the NFL then asking the police for video would reasonably be as broad a request as expected. So why the idea that the NFL fucked up or covered things up by not, I don't know, guessing that there was extra video and requesting it? They aren't an investigative body, that's what the police and courts are meant to address.

There are allegations that some in the NFL office did know about the extended video, but unless I missed some damning piece of evidence, we don't know for a fact that Goodell or others had seen the video at the time the 2-game suspension was handed down. Further, I still maintain that the video isn't as damning as you'd think; we see them have an altercation that- from the video- she started or participated in; Goodell may have seen it, and said "Well, she swung at him, this is messy, we'll give a token PR suspension but otherwise let the courts handle it". Which... I only disagree with from the perspective of handing out any suspension.

5. Terribly unpopular opinion: why should the NFL do anything? Here is, I guess, my really unpopular opinion: why, exactly, does the NFL have to do anything here? The law investigated, rendered a verdict, and the involved parties have moved on. So why does the NFL have to revisit the issue, or extend their sentence?

I am genuinely frightened by this trend of the last few years in our online/offline world mingling, and I don't think it's a good trend for us to be living our lives in a Tumblr-driven, "Social (In)Justice" world where your every action is echo-chambered and every company and individual you interact with is required to shame and shun you to the greatest degree if the Internet Hate Machine has decided you are the public enemy of the day. At its worst, it's 4chan et al harassing to a criminal degree people who are innocent of the alleged crimes; even at its best, while things like Steubenville or animal torturers are tracked down because of the I.H.M., it still bypasses due process and is grotesquely uncivilized.

The legal system and due process addressed this Ray Rice/Janay Rice incident to the apparent satisfaction of everyone directly involved. The argument to support an indefinite suspension is that the NFL should take action against Rice... because otherwise they'll take a PR hit from "some people"... who think they should take action against Rice... lest they get a PR hit. It's all a circle jerk of righteous intolerance and manufactured outrage, and it's made me so disgusted with the state of the world. We have become the practitioners of "two-minutes of hate" Orwell predicted, and we fucking like it that way.

If law enforcement's pursuit of the case is such that the person is unable to maintain their job, that's one thing; if Rice goes to jail then obviously he can't play, thus nullifying elements of his contract. This was the bullshit reason why Barry Bonds couldn't even get a league-minimum contract in the few years after his final game; that at some point he'd be arraigned, tried, convicted, and jailed and thus wasn't worth "the risk".

But why should Rice's current employer take a stance at all, or suspend him- when he hasn't been convicted in anything but the court of public opinion- a kangaroo court whose only evidence was a shorter, and now this longer, video? The legal system initially claimed the video supported that both people were engaged in violence, and then indicted Rice, then dropped the charges in lieu of court-ordered counseling. His fiance/now-wife has blasted the media's focus, has (allegedly) "apologized" for her part in the events, and they've gotten married and moved on.

I hope Rice and the NFL Player's Union tackle this, because I don't see where the NFL gets off handing out belated, follow-up, indefinite suspensions just to satisfy public opinion on some viral hate-mongering.

posted by hincandenza at 01:06 AM on September 10