Recent Comments by hincandenza

Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension Reinstated for DeflateGate

The Patriots were punished for SpyGate. The Saints were punished for BountyGate. The Falcons were punished for CrowdNoiseGate. The Patriots were punished for DeflateGate.

Goodell is a hack, but there's nothing unprecedented about a team being punished with the NFL Commissioner acting as the ultimate authority. That is how a sports league is supposed to work, not endless court cases.

A sports league is still governed by labor law, and labor law does lay out some rules as to what can be considered acceptable elements or interpretations of a CBA. Hence the court cases, whether you like them or not; that is how the system is supposed to work. If Goodell didn't want to be in court, he shouldn't craft new punishments out of whole cloth that test the limits of the existing CBA.

As to your examples of precedent: The Patriot team- not players- were punished for SpyGate; likewise with the lost draft picks for DeflateGate. Same as with the Falcons; the penalty was financial, against the team. League to team penalties are not governed by the CBA, so that's irrelevant.

And when it came to BountyGate, all four affected players successfully appealed their suspensions. Same for Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. In every single one of those cases, the appeal was either heard by a different party, such as former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, or an external judge.

So, "nothing unprecedented" isn't exactly true, when most every high-profile Goodell punishment going beyond the letter of the CBA has been later vacated by the league's own appeal process or a court. The difference here? In the Brady case Goodell acted as his own arbitrator in the appeal. This current ruling isn't about the facts of deflation, but whether Goodell, as the acting arbitrator, implicitly has that broad authority per the current CBA. The decision was 2-1 that the NFLPA didn't prove some overwhelming/extreme unfairness in Goodell's handling of the arbitration.

So if we're going to talk precedent, it's worth noting that those previous cases in which Goodell ruled for some extended suspension regarding "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game" were later overturned as him having overstepped the bounds of his authority. In addition, of the four competent, experienced judges that have heard the Brady case- Berman back in September, and this 2-1 ruling- we've got half believing Goodell overstepped his bounds, and half believing that Goodell, per the CBA, does implicitly possess this kind of extremely broad authority as commissioner and/or self-appointed arbitrator.

That's hardly a ringing endorsement for how the league should be run, or whether Goodell was fair and just in his penalty in this case. The decision may stand for a number of reasons- not the least of which is the idea that the courts do not wish to be in the business of renegotiating CBAs, or hamstringing arbitrators decision-making powers, and thus punt this question back to the NFLPA/NFL to resolve in their next CBA. But let's not kid ourselves that this is just, or fair, or desirable, or even "precedented", when it's none of these things.

posted by hincandenza at 09:49 PM on April 25

Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension Reinstated for DeflateGate

cixelsyd: Not true.

If you had stated "The Patriot's presentation of their interpretation of science convinced some of us the opposite was true", then yes.

Yeah, no... I'm not going to rehash this argument in depth yet again, anymore than I'm going to argue with someone who denies evolution as science instead of simply a personal interpretation of faith. The impartial evidence and arguments are out there a mere google search away, and the Wells Report itself shows the numbers, which match the exact prediction of the ideal gas law to within a tenth of a PSI. That's not the Patriots, that's the NFL's own personalized, paid for report!

The point is, per this ruling, Goodell could unilaterally declare that throwing 50+TDs, going 19-0, or going to the conference finals too many times in a decade is "conduct detrimental" to the league. And he'd be within his rights to do so in the CBA, as well as issue any punishment he deems fit. He'd also be within his rights to run his own appeals process, as his own arbitrator, and declare his punishment fair and just.

Even if legally supported under the premise "Well, you should have negotiated a better CBA, it's not our job to fix that as an appeals court", as a practice that's fucking insane and tyrannical. Fans are simply hoping he won't do that to your team- which is what the NFLPA did, because they incorrectly assumed Goodell wouldn't overreach this grossly, in a way no past commissioner did. The Patriots and Saints are among the teams whose fanbase have woken up to the horrible flaw in that assumption.

posted by hincandenza at 04:38 PM on April 25

Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension Reinstated for DeflateGate

As I understand it, there is supposed to be labor law that governs fairness- the arbitrator must be fair, and there is a "law of the shop" such that past penalties/allowed behavior bears weight on future punishments, etc. For example, if player X, Y, and Z all got a $25K fine for excess stickum, you can't suddenly give someone 3 games for the same infraction without due warning.

Consider that in recent years other incidences of ball tampering/pressure adjustment got a modest fine, that that penalty for such behavior is explicitly stated in the CBA. Yet Goodell is now acting as his own arbitrator, and made up a new penalty in contrast with an explicitly stated one, just for shits and giggles. With this successful appeal, so long as he doesn't violate the law/constitutional rights- Goodell can't now murder someone under the CBA, as an extreme example- there are no more limits on Goodell's rights to punishment. You're just hoping he won't go nuts on your team/favorite player with some "conduct detrimental" nonsense. Since he is his own appeals process, there is no chance he'll overrule his own initial ruling. If he nails a player on your favorite team, that player is toast: "extremely broad" means untouchable in this case.

And let's be clear: the CBA didn't give him this power, he took it. By pushing the envelope on what he could get away with, including becoming his own "impartial arbitrator", he eventually clawed out this new authority. I believe in 2020, the NFLPA sure as heck will die on that hill. They negotiated the last CBA without caring too much about this, because past and present commissioners didn't abuse their power like Goodell has done. Now, they know that not only will Goodell just make shit up- the science is unambiguous that no deflation occurred beyond exactly that defined by the ideal gas law- he will then be his own arbitrator where he can say to a player "I will be fair and impartial, provided you admit your guilt in everything I've accused you of, and accept your punishment", but that the circuit courts will uphold this based on the current CBA language. The union members can't be walking around with arbitrary punishments dangling over their head every time Goodell feels people need to respect his authori-tay.

In a tangential matter, I saw this amusing comment in the Reddit thread on this story:

strongscience62 Brady should get to serve his suspension in the preseason since, according to NFL ticket prices, those are real games too.
Well played, sir. :)

posted by hincandenza at 03:56 PM on April 25

Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension Reinstated for DeflateGate

I thought the team already lost draft picks from this? In any case, that was never on the table regarding the suspension. This stopped being about Tom Brady, or those footballs, ages ago; the NFLPA can't be happy with this, which means either they keep fighting it, or maybe we have a strike at the next negotiation.

This seems like a pants-on-head retarded ruling (to me, the most pre-eminent labor law expert in all the land! :) ), since the presumption here seems to be that unless a CBA covers in chapter and verse every possible permutation of words and language and explicitly limits the commissioner in extreme detail in all possible ways, that the NFLPA and its members are basically exposed to any action on the part of the commissioner he may dream up. So basically, if Goodell wakes up tomorrow with a bad hair day, he can choose to suspend Tony Romo of the Cowboys for an entire year, and fine him 3x his annual salary, just because. And it will stand, because per the 2nd court, the CBA gives the commissioner "especially broad" powers.

The original appeal that overturned the suspension made a compelling case that the commissioner can't just invent new rules from whole cloth- 4 games for something that's explicitly in the rules as a $25K fine!- or based on rules that aren't part of the players agreement/rulebook. This new ruling seems to say "Even if you thought you'd agreed that the punishment for violation 'x' is detailed, you're fucked". That makes for shitty precedent, and to me means a strike/lockout at the next negotiation. The NFLPA will be forced to go hardcore next time, and basically say "We will not agree to any CBA that doesn't limit the commissioner to only fines, never to exceed $50K per player per game, and reviewable by an arbitrator hired by the NFLPA". The 2nd Circuit has just made it clear that the NFLPA would be crazy to not hold the line; if they do anything less, they have failed as a union.

Also, this from the article really pisses me off:

It is also likely to fuel a fresh round of debate over what role, if any, the quarterback and top NFL star played in using underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game in January 2015
Sorry, no. The case has never been made that there was any underinflation, intentional or otherwise; in fact, all the science has pointed at the opposite, that all measured 'deflation' was a result of the ideal gas law and nothing more. Granted, this is in a country where a significant percentage of the population denies evolution, climate change, and science in general, so I'm not that surprised. Still, that some deflation occurred continues to just be presumed in the face of all evidence is distressing in a "we've always been at war with Eastasia" kind of way. All I can hope is that Goodell goes completely nuts and starts over-penalizing players from many teams, so NFL fans can realize what was lost by the NFLPA in this ruling.

posted by hincandenza at 03:18 PM on April 25

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading that little trip down nostalgia lane. However, it seems the list actually came out in 2014, and that archive posting didn't have links to the rest of the series. So I've dug up the links, for anyone who wants them:

posted by hincandenza at 05:45 AM on April 23

Texans Owner Robert McNair: Cherokees Can't Hold Their Whiskey

I feel like Bill Burr's take on these incidents is a relevant one (and hilarious).

posted by hincandenza at 02:27 PM on February 10

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

beaverboard: There was a point in the game at which I would have touted Kony Ealy for MVP.
So in other words... KONY 2016?

posted by hincandenza at 05:53 AM on February 08

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Damn, maybe it's because my formative years were in the 80's, but Ann Wilson was a *fox*.

posted by hincandenza at 08:23 PM on January 21

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

yerfatma: ESPN ran a stat saying this weekend will be Tom Brady's 10th Conference Championship, which is more than 27 teams. It's also the 11th in 22 years for the Pats under Kraft after 1 in the first 40 or so.
There are a lot of crazy stats about Brady, Belichick, and the Patriots at this point, such as some of his post-season records besting that of most teams. For example, if they do make the Super Bowl, the Patriots will take over the slot of most SB appearances with 9; Brady/Belichick would account for 7 of those, meaning each would have more Superbowl appearances than all franchises except the Cowboys and Steelers with 8 each.

However, this is my personal favorite:

  • The single-season record for pass completion is held by Drew Brees, when he completed 71.2% of passes in 2011
  • With 10 AFCCG appearances in 14 seasons (ignoring 2008 when he was out all year with an injury), Tom Brady has appeared in 71.4% of the AFCCGs during his career as a starting QB
It is therefore statistically more likely at the start of a given season that Tom Brady will end up playing in the AFCCG, than it is that any quarterback, cherry-picked from any point in history, will complete a given pass.

I sent that to a Seahawks fan friend of mine in a text the other day, and his only reply was "You are now dead to me". I suppose my timing could have been better...

posted by hincandenza at 03:52 PM on January 21

Steelers Coach Should've Been Flagged for Being on Field

I'm not saying Porter is a saint, nor that he shouldn't be fined, nor even that the refs didn't let this one get out of control long before this play. But a penalty flag would be undeserved, and is just irrational sour grapes. Also, it'd be nice to have someone other than Bengals players or coaches telling us what he allegedly did or said. There is also this reddit comment, and subsequent replies, that seem to paint out what happened on the field.

Putting it bluntly, there is something ethically bankrupt about trying to equate teammates/personnel improperly being on the field while an injured player is being tended to- a technical rule violation that is never really enforced even though maybe it should be- and attempting to hit/strike an opponent like Jones did, regardless of what was said. Is there a rule in the NFL that allows for alleged trash-talking to be met directly with violence? I wasn't aware of that rule. Burfict really missed the boat in that case; he should have told a ref that Brown was a-lookin' at him all funny-like, then the ref would have no choice but to rescind the penalty flag on the personal foul. Real men gotta stand up and demand respect, by whatever means necessary.

Le sigh. In any case, this image also showed up on reddit; by my count of the green circles, that's like 1, 2, 3... 9 penalties on the Bengals right there. Nine! Boy howdy, it's a good thing the NFL officials routinely call out players and personnel on the field during an injury timeout, which as we all remember is why the Bengals were then assessed 135 yards in penalties.

posted by hincandenza at 12:05 AM on January 12

Steelers Coach Should've Been Flagged for Being on Field

Regardless of his team role, when have NFL refs ever thrown a flag at any players/personnel on the field during an injury timeout, especially one where the player was knocked unconscious? The 15yd for the dirty hit was unquestionable, but as grum points out, Porter didn't actually do anything or make contact- unlike 95 who bumped him into a group of Bengals, or Pacman's I-don't-know-what attempt that resulted in him hitting a ref. That second and game-defining penalty came when the hotheaded Bengals initiated further contact in the form of Jones taking a swing at Porter and hitting a ref, which was the only other egregious contact after play stopped.

posted by hincandenza at 06:28 PM on January 10

Play SportsFilter's NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest

Kansas City over Houston by 10
Cincinnati over Pittsburgh by 7
Seattle over Minnesota by 14 *LOCK*
Washington over Green Bay by 10

Russell Wilson will be the quarterback with the most passing yards.
Jeremy Hill will be the running back with the most rushing yards.
Antonion Brown will be the player with the most receiving yards.
JJ Watt will be a player who will record a sack or partial sack.

Seattle better win on Sunday or this first round is going to be a bloodbath for a lot of us. :)

posted by hincandenza at 01:12 AM on January 09

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

holden: I do find the lack of follow up on the story interesting/curious, but does anyone give a shit whether an aging QB coming off of a major surgery potentially used something to aid/speed his recovery?
I have for years on this site made clear that my feelings about PEDs in general are that they should be a) no less legal than they would for non-athletes, and b) should be allowed provided a reputable doctor (one who is in some way insulated from the pressure of overprescribing, i.e., not one working for the team/league, nor being paid directly by the athlete) is prescribing them and monitoring the patient. This would help the people who are in the .001% of fitness and extremes of human physical activity to have access to medicines that spur healing and bodily repair that they may benefit from in their line of work, while balancing the competitive drive and greed that would lead someone to take unnecessary risks.

That said, the CBA rules agreed upon mandate that PED abuses warrant a 4-game suspension, in much the same way a minor equipment violation maxes out at $25K fine. Ha ha. There should be much more discussion about whether Manning should even be allowed into the playoffs, since the key element- that HGH was sent to his home- is apparently not denied even by Manning himself (if I recall the facts correctly). Players have gotten suspended for less proof, and this has the interesting "water cooler discussion" wrinkle that the violation occurred while he was with another team. If Commissioner Tommy Boy wasn't ethically challenged, would he be fair in penalizing the "wrong" team if he suspended Manning when this story broke? And unlike football PSI changing in inclement weather, this is a clearly delineated rule, that has been applied repeatedly in the past.

So why is it different for the legacy golden boy? Why is Manning not getting the Bonds or Clemens treatment- or even the Ricky Williams treatment? It's a telling thing watching the NFL and its paid-for media representatives in ESPN and elsewhere successfully dance around this. I have yet to see a former QB crying on TV about Manning's "betrayal" of the sport and his team. It's a healthy reminder that the sports media, like the larger media, is fundamentally useless at exposing any truth that is not desired by the powers-that-be; a healthy reminder that people in general are often terrible judges of the merit of ther own logical conclusions.

And yes, I'm still salty at how even here on SpoFi, I had to sit through months of nonsense by so many otherwise intelligent people over the Deflategate idiocy. Where are the outraged pearl-clutching dearies who swore up and down that their own misunderstanding of the ideal gas law should lead to lost championships, lifetime bans, and other absurdly harsh punishments?

Seriously, where are they? Why is no one here commenting on this Manning story like they did the Brady one, when there's both more proof of wrongdoing and a clearer punishment that is not being applied?

posted by hincandenza at 12:54 AM on January 09

Baseball Hall of Fame adds "The Kid" and the catcher in 2016.

Not that it isn't deserved- like his fellow Mariner Johnson, he should have been 100%- but I'm actually surprised it was only three ballots that didn't include Griffey. Does this mean the curmudgeonly "No one should be unanimous" crowd is finally dying off, or is it some kind of subtle statement about Griffey being untainted by even a whiff of PEDs? Although I think Bonds and Clemens both improved their vote total this year, so maybe this is an overall recalibration from the era of PED witch hunt hysteria.

posted by hincandenza at 06:46 PM on January 06

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

That's awesome. I guess it makes me see a little of the virtue in a sport like golf's obsession with an honor system (even though it still seems nitpicky about inconsequential things); good sportsmanship elevates the spirit of the game.

posted by hincandenza at 06:38 PM on January 06

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

So... are any of the "CHEATRIOTS!!!!!11111" brigade going to even acknowledge the Manning PED allegations? Are we going to see former QBs break down in tears on ESPN, or the same rage-over-facts self-righteous indignation in the comments sections of sports related websites?

Just kidding, that was a rhetorical question...

posted by hincandenza at 05:09 PM on December 29

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

From 2010-2014, Gronkowski had 7 total OPI calls in his career. So far this season he's gotten 6, which is why NE leads the NFL in OPI. The next highest team is the Redskins at 5.

That suggest either he's suddenly altered his style of play, or the refs are now calling OPI for reasons they never did before. The OPI in yesterday's game is the kind of casual contact made all the time, but it seems Gronk is now treated like young Shaq, getting dinged for fouls simply because he's bigger and stronger than everyone else.

Here's hoping the Patriots still finish 18-1... :)

posted by hincandenza at 11:29 PM on November 30

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

That NE-Broncos game had some of the sketchiest officiating I've seen in years. Congrats to Roger Goodell on his victory.

posted by hincandenza at 01:09 AM on November 30

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Ah, I just read that quote from somewhere, but can't recall where... sbnation maybe? Yep, from this recap of all the zany hijinks just in one inning.

Didn't watch the game live, but just watched the craziness on I'm reminded why baseball is the best sport: weird, wild, wacky things can happen in any game.

posted by hincandenza at 11:51 PM on October 14

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

What tron7 said; I'm reminded often when browsing the web (in particular, the comments section of most any site where people debate law, politics, or sports) of Kohlberg's three general stages of moral development: pure obedience, law and order, and principled conscience. Most sports commentary- unsurprisingly, given how sports media doesn't exactly select for insight or intellect- is stuck in stage 2, with an obsession of rules for rule's sake.

Sure, the obscure rule says you can't do that, but if we ponder why such a rule exists, I think it's because everywhere else on the field, you have dozens of yards to recover a fumbled ball and retain possession, but in the end zone there is no such leeway because there is an invisible back wall. However, watching the replay... that ball was going out of bounds. Maybe an incredible play by Riddick who I saw come in from the bottom of the frame at the end of the clip, might have dived and stopped it, but he wasn't diving when the ball was touched a foot or so from the back of the end zone. For all intents and purposes, that was a fumble that went out of the back of the end zone, namely a touchback. And for me, it looked like Wright had a very brief hesitation between grabbing it, slapping it, or letting it go- aren't defensive players taught to slap the ball out of bounds most anywhere else on the field?- but in any case it's not like a Lion was going to get the ball. I prefer refs that consider the context and nature of this specific play to decide if an obscure rule should even be invoked.

posted by hincandenza at 01:33 AM on October 07

NFL Source: 'No Doubt' Brady Will Sit 4 Games This Season

Sheesh... if you didn't already think this was a witch hunt with no goal but for the league to blatantly attempt to sabotage one specific team's entire season...

Now the question you should ask yourself is: why would any self-respecting journalists keep using these NFL sources that are either obvious NFL propaganda or outright false, or both?

posted by hincandenza at 11:45 PM on September 27

Super Bowl Ditches Roman Numerals

Okay Howard, that was gold. :)

posted by hincandenza at 05:21 PM on September 10

2 High School Players Intentionally Hit Referee

Well... I care, I literally wrote that right above. It doesn't matter, but it would be interesting to see if these kids were teed off about a total miscall, or some thing questionable at worst. Plus, the preceding play might show clues of the planning, and whether the coach or other players were involved. On reddit, someone linked a fast-pitch softball clip in which not only does the pitcher throw it right at the umps mask, the catcher intentionally leaps out of the way, and the entire infield- as well as the manager- met on the mound right beforehand. It was so obviously intentional, and orchestrated by the manager, they called the game then and there.

posted by hincandenza at 10:06 PM on September 06

2 High School Players Intentionally Hit Referee

I saw this when it was going around reddit yesterday, it's pretty appaling. Happily at least, it sounds like the schools and related organizations are reacting quickly and appropriately.

One question I've had, just out of curiousity: I can't find a clear description in an article, much less video, of the preceding play. Not that it would justify the action, but I'd be interested in seeing what these players were so incensed about.

posted by hincandenza at 03:40 PM on September 06

Federal Judge Tosses Brady's 4-Game NFL Suspension

Man ESPN is the worst.

So when can the SpoFi community admit there was no "there" there? The NFL actively tried to catch the Patriots in a sting operation, ineptly tried to collect damning data, and yet even the biased Wells report admitted there wasn't even convincing evidence of any tampering actually happening- much less involvement from Brady et al? For 80 years the NFL didn't care, didn't even know there was a natural gas law, and Brady just wanted a low end but legal 12.5 PSI football.

Shouldn't this all have been a simple off-season scientific investigation and possible rules tweak of ball pressure setting and management? Because a fair number of posters here were looking for blood, demanding Brady impale himself on a non-existent violation that at most would warrant a small fine if it even happened- of which there's never been evidence it even happened?

Don't be like Lester Munson... admit you were wrong about the alleged "Cheatriots".

posted by hincandenza at 02:13 AM on September 05

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

On the one hand, I hate the public shaming culture/stockades... but on the other hand, fuck Schilling.

Although I still revere him for 2004, that doesn't conflict withat thinking he's also a putz.

posted by hincandenza at 11:55 PM on August 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

What... why...

posted by hincandenza at 10:33 AM on August 25

ESPN Accidentally Fires Adam Schefter

What you did there; I see it. :)

posted by hincandenza at 12:55 AM on August 22

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

This Daniel Norris sounds like an interesting cat. The link is to a discussion on the front page of Reddit right now; apparently he lives on $800/mo, and during spring training lived in a van behind a WalMart*. What is it with pitchers and their seemingly greater-than-normal penchant for quirky personalities?

* Then again, if you watch that video when he's showing off the machete he keeps in the van for protection... I'm not sure how I feel about another pitcher with a fondness for sharp weapons...

posted by hincandenza at 04:15 AM on August 21

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

That Norris at-bat was insane; the stroke was so sweet, he looked like he was barely swinging, and it goes right over the dead-center wall. And first ever professional at-bat? That's remarkable.

The Denard Span one cracked me up; where did they get all that video of him asking people about it...? It's like when someone learns some amazing new fact on the front page of Reddit, and they keep telling people.

Eventually, ESPN is going to have to run a retraction; there is no doubt they were getting blatantly false info from the NFL front office- including the bullshit "2 pounds" number- that grossly colored the entire DeflateGate story. Ah, who am I kidding- they'll never apologize. Fuck 'em, I canceled my cable months ago, they aren't getting anything from me anymore.

posted by hincandenza at 11:16 PM on August 20

Little League Team Throws Game at World Series

Exactly- the issue wasn't losing, that earned them nothing: they specifically were trying to lose by enough runs that NC would win a tiebreaker against Iowa on run differential. Like bender suggests, for these kind of structures where ties are so common, they need more than mathematical rules; let the kids play- and incentivize it, so no one would ever dream of intentionally losing, much less in such obvious fashion.

Haven't we had wild card/division standings races where a team might actually benefit by intentionally losing in the last days of the season (i.e., allowing a different team to surge ahead in the wild card once your own position is assured). I vaguely recall a team- the Rays or Yankees, maybe?- did that to the Red Sox a few years ago in the single-wild-card-team format, where they arguably made some questionable batting order and late-game swaps on the field against a team that was fighting the Sox for a wild card slot in the last days of the season?

Oh of course, yeah, it was the goddamn nightmare 2011 season. Ugh. Along with all the other disasters, it came down the final day, Boston loses 4-3, after a long 7th inning rain delay where they led 3-2, when Papelbon struck out the first two batters quickly and then couldn't close it out. Literally minutes later, having somehow squandered an 7-0 lead with two innings to go, the Yankees end up losing to the Rays mere minutes after the Sox had lost. Not saying the Sox deserved to make the playoffs after their shitshow September, but that Yankee game never did sit right with me... thank god for 2004/2007 at that point, or 2011 would have led to a lot of bridge jumping in the greater New England area...

posted by hincandenza at 01:24 AM on August 19

Little League Team Throws Game at World Series

Ha, I just saw this at /r/Seattle and was coming here to post it, but I guess you beat me by a couple of minutes. :) Here's the Seattle Times story, at least. I'm most surprised they got through an entire 8-0 game without anyone involved slapping the coach upside the head.

The tiebreaker seems like a good and fair decision all around. It wouldn't be fair to outright disqualify them just for losing, when losing still put them in the next round per the rules, and they appeared the strongest team on points. Since the goal of Snohomish was to essentially smooth their own path by pushing NC over Iowa using tiebreaker rules-lawyering, having Snohomish forced into a 1-game playoff to continue was actually kind of Solomonic, honestly. The real shame is that the best team might have been knocked out of the competition by their own coach getting too cute with tournament rules.

Granted, the real flaw is how easily exploitable tournament tiebreaker rules are; as mentioned in the article(s), the coach didn't break the rules, just the spirit of "striving to win". You gotta feel bad for all the players: the Snohomish girls throwing a game can't have felt good, the Iowa girls watching their tournament dreams end... and then the one-game playoff was announced and you realize the emotions on each side probably did a 180 in a heartbeat. I'm surprised the final score was only 3-2, honestly.

posted by hincandenza at 06:37 PM on August 18

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

What a weird... and wonderful... game is baseball. :)

posted by hincandenza at 10:02 PM on August 14

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

You explanations did help clarify it, thanks; the reason for the rules is to cover the weird case closer to what I described, when you have fast runner make it to first while a DP is being completed. It answers the question of whether the run scores or not, and whether it's timing based- which happens first- or event based- once these boxes are ticked off without any of these. There's one other thing that would have come into play: being outside the base paths, those runners would have been out for that reason, I believe.

Then again, the runners were celebrating because the CF just ran in, there was zero chance of a play at the plate. Had he instead made a fierce effort to get the ball in (for god knows what reason) the runners would have just advanced normally, stepped on their bases, and stayed there with a safe lead until the winning run crossed the plate and play was basically stopped, like with a playable medium/shallow pop fly.

Interestingly, a nefarious coach could exploit this exactly once in a season: in the same bases-loaded one or two out in the bottom of the 9th situation like this, if a clear untouchable hit goes over an outfielder's head, they always play act as if they give up almost immediately... and if they're lucky enough to entice this kind of premature celebration even one time, the next OF over quietly scurries for the ball, whips it in to the first OF who has suddenly darted over to be the relay man, and boom- instant one or two outs. You'd have to be the baseball equivalent of Belichick to even plan and train for something like that, though. :)

I like the idea that there's a rule of equity, a sort of "Well, this is why they pay you: when it all falls apart, just think it over and try to be fair to the spirit of the game at play". Hopefully, in this case they'd make the spirit-of-the-game decision if things were actually questionable, under that basis, or if a team did the intentional "hidden fielder" trick or whatever we'd call it.

posted by hincandenza at 04:17 AM on August 12

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

This reminds me of the Robin Ventura grand slam single in the NLCS a few years' back, which ended up similarly being a historical score keeping anomaly.

However thank god for the runners passing, the security guard dead ball, and the poor force play, else I'm still not sure how it should have been ruled.

The runners not having touched the bags at 2nd and 3rd is irrelevant once the runners cross home and first. However... just how long is that? Let's imagine earnest but painfully, comically slow runners on 1st and 2nd. They haven't made it to their next base even as the batter and man on third have rung up the winning run. Meanwhile, with no staff intererence, the ball makes it back to the infield, both runners get caught off base, double play on the force outs at 3rd and 2nd.

We'd all agree that a DP not only doesn't earn an RBI, but in this instance would it still matter? Runners can get in an intentional rundown just to buy more time for a lead runner to score, but if it's a force play and the runners are slow... just how much time is allowed to complete the inning end out after the run scores? And do the runners in a force situation ever have to touch the bag once the run has scored? Contrasted, if I have an Ichiro ground to SS in this situation, and both he and the runner on third reach their bases before the routine DP is completed... did Ichiro's team win, or are we going to extra innings?

posted by hincandenza at 05:01 PM on August 11

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

No no, he's not saying Madison Bumgarner is a racist...

posted by hincandenza at 12:21 AM on August 02

Roger Goodell Upholds Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension on Appeal

No one expected the commissioner to overturn the commissioner's own ruling that was based on a report the commissioner commissioned himself. This was just a necessary pre-flight routine before Brady and the NFLPA sues the NFL and Goodell.

posted by hincandenza at 03:22 PM on July 28

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Damn, some strange plays in the MLB these days. Check out this weird triple play by the Mariners today. The nature of it is not unheard of, but at this level it always surprises me when you see a base-running gaffe like this (or the delayed reaction of the players/coaches to what happened). You can see it develop, too: no outs, Pillar on First and Carrera on third. Batter hits a routine dribbler down to first, he's out; it was quick enough that Pillar on first didn't make it to second, so they get him in a rundown... but then notice Carrera trying to sneak home from third so they throw the ball to the catcher to run him back.

Meanwhile, Pillar correctly takes that moment to easily progress to second and then- seeing the rundown between third and home- wrongly tries to advance to third, which he does easily. Unfortunately, Carrera had scampered back to third just after, so the catcher promptly tags both players. Pillar is immediately out, since the lead runner has rights to the bag, but in the confusion Carrera seems to get panicky as if not sure if he should try running home again (to make Pillar safe I guess?), stumbles off the bag, and is promptly tagged again for the third out.

If you watch carefully, the third base coach was unforgivably asleep at the wheel; he barely was watching Carrera's rundown, staring right at second, and yet did not wave Pillar back. Pillar should have known better, but Luis River had literally one job, and he screwed it up. It's giving me flashbacks to the days of Red Sox 3B coach Wendell Kim sending valuable baserunners to their doom.

posted by hincandenza at 02:59 AM on July 27

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

I think he'd have to, but I've been surprised before; maybe Howard can chime in? I've never been totally clear on the line between error and simply not making a tough play. He did run a good distance to get there, but then had a fair amount of time to stand there before just sort of...falling over.

posted by hincandenza at 04:34 PM on July 26

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

For what it's worth, yet another no-hitter was thrown today by Cole Hamels of the Phillies; Hamels is the first pitcher to no-hit the Cubs since Sandy Koufax in 1965. Hamels has been the subject of trade speculation as we near the non-waiver trade deadline, so this performance can only enhance his value for teams in the hunt for that stretch run pitching boost.

If you watch nothing else, be sure to check out the absurd two no-hitter saving catches made by Odubel Herrera in the 8th and then 9th inning to end the game. Two of the weirdest, ugliest, most ridiculously beautiful catches in a no-hitter I've ever seen. The last play looks like something you'd see in a made-for-TV Bad News Bears sequel.

posted by hincandenza at 03:10 AM on July 26

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Well... damn. Literally a few seconds after posting, apparently I did jinx it. :(

Er... anyway, unrelated: can someone explain why this is even a "thing"? "Yankees, A-Rod Resolve Bonus Issue". I have no great love for A-Rod, but I'm also old school enough to think that a contract is a contract, and the Yankees shouldn't be able to say "We don't feel like paying you because you have a bad reputation among the public (a negative reputation which we actually helped foster".

Either there was explicit language that would nullify the bonus for certain cases (for example, if he was traded, so that a future team wouldn't be stuck paying bonuses on someone; or in this case, if there was an explicit morality clause et al), or there wasn't. If there wasn't... I don't see how you can just disregard the contract unless A-Rod agreed to for whatever reasons. It's not a win for anyone but the Steinbrenner family that A-Rod doesn't get the bonuses, the Yankees now don't have to pay that money in their salary cap, and yet the charitable amounts are far less than the bulk of that $30M he'd have likely earned hitting those milestones.

posted by hincandenza at 09:34 PM on July 03

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

For those checking in, Anibal Sanchez of Detroit is still pitching in the 8th inning of a 8-0 game at Comerica Park. Being old school, I won't explicitly say why this is interesting, but I trust people will understand. :)

posted by hincandenza at 09:26 PM on July 03

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

There's a difference between Cardinals hackin, or the NCAA's bullshit rules, and prohibitions against betting on the sport you play in. Baseball did have a famously corrupt World Series in 1919, it even made the news a bit. :) They've been touchy about gambling ever since.

And that makes good sense! There's a world of difference between cheating as in breaking or at least bending the game rules to gain an edge- PEDs, sign stealing, scuffing the ball, that sort of thing- and doing something that suggests the game itself has a rigged outcome due to one or more participants. At least in the former, you know it's just people trying to get ahead: they're still competing. But if they bet on the games, and thus conceivably might have been "paid" to lose, you no longer know if you're really seeing a competition..

posted by hincandenza at 05:06 AM on June 23

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Wow. I'd guess he's about 8-9, but whatever his age, Hernandez' kid has some seriously good form.

The MLB woman article didn't load for me, grum. However, it did make me go google that 13-year-old knuckleballer who made headlines a while back. Turns out she's 16 and in high school now, still pitching, and apparently having quite a bit of success.

posted by hincandenza at 05:00 AM on June 23

Max Scherzer Has Perfect Game Through 8 2/3, But Hits Tabata

Oh wow, that's genius, beaverboard!

And yeah, he totally leaned into that: on the initial normal speed view, I didn't even think it hit him; on slo-mo, he unquestionably bent down into the pitch, and that's bullshit. At least Scherzer still got the no-no, and he's not the first pitcher to lose a perfect game or no-no with one out or one strike (insert amazing story about a 9th inning two-out Carl Everett pinch-hit at-bat against a Mike Mussina no-no at Fenway on Sunday Night Baseball many years ago).

Still, I've thought this since people like Bonds (as much as I've been a staunch defender of him on this site) really started popularizing the wearing of battle armor. While I understand and support a hitter protecting vital body parts, I feel like the rule about not making a sincere effort to get out of the way should be enforced much more than it is, especially when batters are wearing protective gear. I'd love to see umpires call that a ball, as the rulebook states, enough times batters stop trying to milk the HBP.

I was somewhat surprised to see this on an article about the play:

For his part, Nationals manager Matt Williams noted that, regardless of his perception, the last thing he would have wanted to do was challenge the play -- it is reviewable -- and hence risk warping Scherzer's rhythm.

I didn't know that kind of play would be reviewable- seeing as it would in my mind qualify under the balls-and-strikes part of the game- but given that it apparently is, I'm not sure how I feel about Williams' decision. On the one hand, the review might have overturned the call and potentially preserved the perfect game; on the other hand, the 5 minutes wait time might have cost Scherzer the no-no altogether.

posted by hincandenza at 09:47 PM on June 20

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Rewatching that, I'd say the fault is almost entirely on the shortstop. Here was my train of thought: 1) I think I'm agreeing with Howard here; the runner on second is unimpeachable, he even ducked so as to minimize interference (or at least, to not get hit by the ball). 2) Wow, that was totally the 2nd baseman's ball, why didn't he get that? 3) The 2B was even calling for it... then stopped? 4) If I recall my baseball rules, players like SS and CF have "right-of-way" on their plays, so if the 2B suddenly backed off then the SS must have called for it 5) The SS, while understandable in not realizing he couldn't reach the ball (since his eyes were in the sky) still called off the fielder who had a better angle and then couldn't make the play.

So no interference, and I'd have ruled that E-6 because it was a routine pop fly. Looking at the box score, eh, they ruled it a single, so I guess that's charitable of them. Amazingly, it was the game-winning run in the top of the 9th, so... ouch. Someone's getting extra fielding practice today....

posted by hincandenza at 05:07 PM on June 08

A bit of history


even though I've grown to loathe everything about Sorkin's TV writing

posted by hincandenza at 04:56 PM on June 08

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

That's the key item you pulled out of that article?

I though they were suspended at the order of the NFL. In any case, suspended != fired, so it's not even impossible those guys come back, should their names be cleared.

posted by hincandenza at 01:21 PM on May 18

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

Wait... are you being serious right now? So a 4-game suspension, million dollar fine, and a 1st and 3rd round pick because of an inviolable law of physics?

What, exactly, was Brady supposed to do, control the weather so there wouldn't be a pressure and temperature variance on the field compared to the locker room?

posted by hincandenza at 05:44 PM on May 15

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots' Deflated Balls

cixelsyd: This a clear cut case of official league rules being broken
The case of the rules being broken is anything but clear cut; the NFL and the Well's Report do not demonstrate any convincing or even probable evidence the footballs were deflated by anyone- much less the Patriots.

The fabled "TWO POUNDS" and "10.1 PSI!!!" turned out to be non-existent. By the NFL's own report, the actual measurements at halftime were solidly in the range of the ideal gas law. Whether they understood the ideal gas law on Jan 18, the NFL conveniently knew these figures at halftime yet did nothing to stem the tide of false leaks in the media for weeks about "two pounds" and "10.1". Even in the Wells report, the only way they could make a case for a "more probable than not" act of deflation was to claim that Walt Anderson misremembered the gauge he used... even though they considered that same Walt Anderson as unimpeachable when recalling the exact pressure he got the footballs at to start the game. However, if we take him at his word on both items... the balls appeared to be the expected pressure, per science.

I'll admit, that doesn't mean the Patriots didn't tamper with the balls that game, or didn't do so in past game, nor that maybe they tried and simply failed to do so successfully enough. But despite the NFL intentionally measuring the balls for that game there still wasn't any clear scientific evidence of a rule definitely being broken, then how can the "offending parties" actually be "offending parties"?

and the refusal of the offending parties to provide requested information in a league investigation.
What information can they provide, if the investigation is convinced something happened- that maybe didn't even happen? The term here is "proving a negative". If I accused you of speeding on your way home from work yesterday, can you prove you didn't? And when I realize I can't prove you did speed, should I get to throw an even bigger penalty than a speeding ticket at you for not "cooperating" in proving you sped... especially if you didn't actually speed yesterday?

Information that would allow proper penalties being applied to the appropriate parties.
Proper penalties were already outlined in the rulebook at $25K. Hence the outrage in some corners that, by lacking clearcut evidence- like they had with the Vikings and Chargers- the punishment was much harsher for the Patriots.

But you know, I was reprimanded for losing my shit (I can't even say deleting the comment wasn't justified, although in my tiny defense this whole insane and unjust debacle has been as frustrating as watching the first two thirds of the "Shawshank Redemption" on daily loop). So I'm going to stop trying to convince anyone.

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"?

For example, if video leaked today of Roger Goodell on hidden camera in January saying "I'm going to get those Patriots, with a frame job about ball pressure, mwuahaha!"... would that sway you? Is that the bare minimum to prove a negative for you? Is the minimum to introduce some doubt higher than that? Lower? Even non-existent; literally nothing you could see or hear after this point would change your mind?

posted by hincandenza at 01:46 PM on May 15

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

It still sounds like hyperbole to say (and I still have issues with positional adjustment for WAR, but whatevs), and yeah a lot can happen in a long career... but wow, we really are watching a generational-level player in Trout.

And as much as people might have complained about it, thank god for challenge reviews; it really doesn't take much time, and as shown here can ensure the right call is made, not just the quickest.

posted by hincandenza at 10:35 PM on May 14

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Why is it bad that Barry Bonds is pursuing legal action against MLB? On the surface, that sure looks like collusion: when the greatest hitter that ever lived offers to play for league minimum and gets literally zero offers- even from teams in the heat of a pennant race- there's got a be a reason for it besides Hester Prynne syndrome.

posted by hincandenza at 09:40 PM on May 13

John Oliver tackles the NCAA and student athletes

Thought this worthy of SpoFi discussion.

My own take is that it is unconscionable to have these students used as indentured servants for a multi billion dollar organization. They get no actual education- it's a joke to pretend D1 athletes in football/basketball are getting an actual education- and have their lives micromanaged to the point that millionaire coaches can bully and abuse the lives and bodies of young men, discarding them when injury or skill has eroded, yet deny them even a cent in material compensation.

If we care about the "purity" of amateurism, then surely we can't allow huge money for amateur sports. Since the fan intereat- and thus money- is not going away, shouldn't we recognize that the athletes are entitled to compensation for the product they create? It is illegal in the USA to employ some to work without compensation excepting under very limited circumstances (see the DOL rules on "unpaid internships" which are often fluted in the media and entertainment industries ), and there is no reasonable argument these students aren't fulfilling job requirements that cannot be replaced. The only reason we don't just call them minor league athletes is because the schools have engineered a clever scam to exploit young men, with the complicit help of the NFL and NBA who benefit from drafting out of an unpaid talent pool.

posted by hincandenza at 12:58 AM on March 17

Curt Schilling Declares War on Twitter Trolls Abusing His Daughter

Oh I agree on the pursuing harassers legally, but it's the public "Let's shame people/get them fired" that bothers me. If their harassment rises to a criminal/civil level, the potential results- which might include loss of job in extreme cases due to legal sanctions that prevents them from working- can quietly be applied through our justice system, without public stockades and global shaming.

Actually, this article by Jon Ronson in the NYT recently says it better than I, by profiling a couple of high-profile cases of people being shamed, fired, and having their lives turned upside down in a supposed case of "Internet Justice". Yet the punishment doesn't remotely fit the crime of essentially "Saying something other people disagree with" or simply "A private joke that you didn't understand and was not meant to be public".

All this technology seems to just allowing people to delve into very childish forms of bullying and mob mentality- like a Mean Girls "Burn book" on a global scale, pissing away any concept of free speech or being able to live our own lives. Schilling already took advantage of Twitter handling the harassment complaint; why make it public, too, or name names?

posted by hincandenza at 01:23 AM on March 03

Curt Schilling Declares War on Twitter Trolls Abusing His Daughter

Whoever wins, we all lose.

It would be nice to solve the problem of trolling and harassment technologically, rather than just encouraging more people in the muck as Schilling is doing.

This is to me the peril of the Internet: we have the same simian tribalism akin to the opening scene of "2001", but with a global reach and lack of social boundaries that turns people into turf warring gangs of unbounded hate that see no problem with escalating feuds to real-life levels.

posted by hincandenza at 06:56 PM on March 02

NFL Pick 'Em Contest, Final Scoreboard

Oh man, what a finish- I didn't realize it would be so close! One point, that could have been any of several spread picks through the whole playoff run.

Congrats NerfballPro, and thanks for running this rcade!

posted by hincandenza at 06:03 PM on February 12

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Hey, did the Pick 'em results come out yet? I think NerfballPro had a good set of Superbowl picks and presumably hung on to win, but it'd be great to see the standings.

posted by hincandenza at 07:30 PM on February 09

DeflateGate Accusations Mean It's Time For Coach and Owner To Be Banned From NFL

yerfatma said things better than I did. Sorry if I snapped at you, rcade; like he expressed, I guess we're feeling defensive as Pats fans, when the message I'm seeing is that we should still feel ashamed or guilty for winning because we're such "cheaters".

posted by hincandenza at 08:00 PM on February 06

DeflateGate Accusations Mean It's Time For Coach and Owner To Be Banned From NFL

Etrigan: That level of insanity is actually kind of impressive.

Uh. Yeah, what Joey Michaels said. It's clearly a rhetorical point, he explicitly copies the angry tirades of sportswriters who railed against the Patriots during DeflateGate as boilerplate for his own (satirical) condemnation of the Colts. As a rhetorical tactic, this is hardly shocking or revolutionary or "insane"; you've surely used this tactic yourself countless times.

The entire case of the DeflateGate ranters- and thus the two-weeks of unchecked hateful outrage that was fueled by it- has been debunked by science and now by the actual facts of the story.

  1. The science was convincing before; it's overwhelming now. The alleged PSI difference was virtually undetectable by hand, and conferred no apparent advantage. Now that we know that exact measurements were never even done before the game, and at half time showed only "a tick" under 12.5- more than explained by the ideal gas law- what we have is "the balls behaved exactly as expected and showed no signs of tampering". Film at 11...
  2. Well, almost all the balls. That magical "12th" ball was apparently the one handled by the Colts. So... either the Patriots deflated exactly one ball and that somehow was the one D'Qwell Jackson intercepted, or "two pounds" we all heard about was an exaggeration based on no actual measurements... or someone tampered with the ball at some point to let air out.

So what we're left with is a bunch of media assholes that were ready to essentially hand out a sports "death penalty" to players or a coach or an organization they are already biased against, all based on no actual evidence or facts. And truly, it wasn't just them- feel free to go browse the previous threads for your own amusing look at the Truth according to Sportsfilter.

Given their low evidentiary standards against the Patriots, isn't it just, fair, and proper to hoist those people up by their own hypocritical petard? To show using their very own words that witch hunts, and rushes to judgment, should be avoided- especially by those in the media? Given how many of them- and many of you, actually- were ready to demand Goodell hand out punishments ranging from fines to loss of draft picks to even booting the Patriots out of the Superbowl or suspending Brady or Belichick for one or more seasons.... shouldn't that same loose standard of evidence now apply to point number 2 above? If the only ball that was suspicious was handled by one team with a motive to tamper... why wouldn't we ask questions.

I mean, not that the writer- or myself- actually believes that, but like they say, "What's good for the goose...". Either we commit to a complete farce of a media and a joke of due process, or we don't.

Eh, but what do I know? I'm just a guy who "[sounds] like a typical dumbass from an ESPN Facebook thread."

posted by hincandenza at 12:03 AM on February 06