Recent Comments by holden

NCAA College Football Week 1 Recap

This is a precap not a recap and no self linking.

posted by holden at 12:26 PM on September 01

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I am in the current league (el tigre negro de holden). Happy to join the new league. Some of the other participants no longer actively participate on SpoFi, so while I am sure we will add some folks, we will lose some as well. Would help to have rcade or someone who will be around in future years as the manager for the new league though, as those things just get renewed year-over-year.

posted by holden at 02:41 PM on August 26

The Premier League Season Kicks Off Tomorrow

I don't think Man Utd will finish top 4, but if one were to make the case (other than new manager), it would be the Liverpool phenomenon from last year -- only needing to battle on one front (other than domestic cups).

posted by holden at 10:29 PM on August 15

The Premier League Season Kicks Off Tomorrow

My predictions:

Title: Arsenal
Top Four: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool
Best Champions League Showing for an English Team: Chelsea
Relegated: Burnley, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace
Top scorer: Daniel Sturridge
Most Assists: David Silva
Most clean sheets (team): Chelsea

posted by holden at 11:42 AM on August 15

Red Sox owner Tom Werner has become a dark horse candidate to be baseball's next commissioner

When I was in law school, Peter Gammons came in and spoke for some Sports and Entertainment Law-type organization and he brought (or the organization brought) Rob Manfred with him, together with Donald Fehr. There was some good "inside baseball" stuff from Gammons -- two I remember: (1) GWB, who was President at the time, might have never "owned" the Rangers but for Reinsdorf, which obviously burnished GWB's resume on his way to the Texas governorship and then the White House (talk about an OMFG game of "what if"); and (2) Billy Koch, then a closer for the White Sox, when in college as a drafted Junior (still eligible to hold out for more and come back to be redrafted as a Senior if he did not sign) allegedly found out from his agent he got what he wanted from the Blue Jays while taking a test at Clemson and promptly got up, went up to the proctor, handed in an unfinished exam and said "See you in the Big Leagues, man" and walked out. People were there to see Gammons, but Manfred provided some good color on labor relations, the business of baseball, etc. He struck me as a good lawyer, but largely a bureaucrat.

That view of Manfred (as an MLB guy, but not necessarily an "owners' guy") ties into one subtext here that I'm not sure has really been fleshed out in what I've read -- and that is what the commissioner of baseball is meant to be. In the past, commissioners were largely "independent" individuals who came from outside of baseball (or outside of baseball prior to being a league president, like Bart Giamatti) and were viewed as "honest brokers" who could help find peace and a middle ground between owners and players. Selig changed all that, and this succession battle, to me, is a now a battle over whether the owners feel they have a right to effectively assign someone from "ownership" to the commissioner's office vs. someone whose interests are more neutral or ambiguous (although, as has been noted in various analysis of this situation, Manfred has done a pretty good job of fighting the owners' fights). Should be an interesting process.

posted by holden at 11:00 PM on August 11

"Kyle Korver: An Offense Unto Himself"

Really enjoyed this read. Gave me more of an appreciation for what Kyle Korver does and, in particular, how disruptive he is. I had viewed him as much more one-dimensional.

As an aside, Zach Lowe is probably the best thing going on Grantland. I find his articles really informative and his volume is bewildering.

posted by holden at 06:30 PM on July 29

Bartolo Colon Has Perfect Game Through 6 Innings

uc -- to spare you a grumming, Johan Santana threw the Mets' first (and only) no hitter just over two years ago.

posted by holden at 11:03 PM on July 23

Bartolo Colon Has Perfect Game Through 6 Innings

posted by holden at 11:00 PM on July 23

Germany Wins World Cup

I think concussions get a big look before the next World Cup, and likely before the next European Championships. ESPN's coverage of the issue was actually pretty good (both in the booth and back in the studio), primarily because Taylor Twellman is such an advocate for better concussion protocols in part due to having his own career cut short as a result of suffering multiple concussions. No way Kramer, Mascherano, Pereira and probably others should have played on in the games in which they were concussed.

I appreciate the fact that soccer does not really afford the luxury of pulling a player to the sideline and putting someone else in for him so doctors can assess whether a player has suffered a concussion, but something needs to be done. I think there needs to be an independent doctor (hired by FIFA, the applicable Confederation, or the applicable FA or whatever) who determines whether a player has suffered a concussion and/or should not play on. I know FIFA hates implementing things at one level that cannot theoretically be replicated all the way down to the lowest leagues, but too much is at stake. Maybe even change the rules so that if the independent doctor determines a player has suffered a concussion, he/she can be subbed out and it does not count against the 3 substitutions, so as to mitigate the effect of taking a player off against his or the coach's will. I guess that could lead to some measure of gamesmanship (in terms of players trying to "fake" concussions), but FIFA needs to think outside of the box here to protect players from themselves.

posted by holden at 02:52 AM on July 14

Brazil Faces Germany for Spot in World Cup Final

Not the only thing one has been stunned by today, presumably.

posted by holden at 04:31 PM on July 08

The Netherlands Faces Underdog Costa Rica in World Cup

In regards to Robben, my two older sons (ages 6 and 8) kept asking how that "really old guy" could be competing (and so well) at the highest level. I told them that he has looked like that since he was 20.

Another burning question has been how a guy named Fred (who they have branded as a cheat since game 1) could be allowed to play, when he clearly has the name and face of a guy "that works at Target" (their words, not mine).

posted by holden at 10:57 PM on July 06

Colombia Faces Suarez-Less Uruguay in World Cup Knockout

Unless it's Madrid or Barcelona on a Bale-type deal, would be surprised if Rodriguez moves again this summer. He just was sold from Porto to Monaco last summer for 47M. I would also imagine that with that club's wealth and tax status, he might be hard pressed to find a situation with potential for greater net wages.

posted by holden at 09:34 PM on June 28

Luis Suarez Banned 9 Games for Biting Opponent

In addition to the Uruguay games, I count 9 Liverpool premier league matches this will cover (roughly 1/4 of the season) and adding in league cup matches and Champions League matches, looks like this will be a 20+ game ban in reality.

posted by holden at 10:38 AM on June 26

Tim Lincecum Throws 2nd No-Hitter Against Padres

HOF bonus points for wearing U.S. jersey in locker room after game.

posted by holden at 12:09 AM on June 26

Mavericks, Knicks shuffle up players.

Shocked that Chandler is only 31. Seems like he has been around forever, which he has (as he came straight out of high school). Remember that the Bulls drafted both him and Eddy Curry? (Not totally factual -- they traded Elton Brand for Chandler on draft day). Curry has been out of the league for 2 years.

posted by holden at 11:55 PM on June 25

Broken Aereo

Nothing really to say on this, other than nice title.

Also, where is the Huddle for today?

posted by holden at 08:12 PM on June 25

Luis Suarez Bites Opponent at World Cup

Adidas was ahead of the curve with this ad:

posted by holden at 08:27 AM on June 25

Luis Suarez Bites Opponent at World Cup

Now that I think of it, didn't someone bite Bergeron in the playoffs a couple of years back?

On edit (decided not to be so lazy and actually Googled it) -- Alex Burrows of the Canucks bit Patrice Bergeron's finger in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals 3 years ago.

posted by holden at 07:41 PM on June 24

Luis Suarez Bites Opponent at World Cup

Do not think I will ever understand what would compel one to bite an opponent. I get lashing out in the heat of the moment, just not in that specific manner.

posted by holden at 07:12 PM on June 24

Luis Suarez Bites Opponent at World Cup

Anything that can break a guy's leg, basically.

posted by holden at 03:57 PM on June 24

Luis Suarez Bites Opponent at World Cup

Who doesn't love to grab a quick bite of Italian from time to time? Credit to Suarez's global outlook and adventurous palate in that he's now tried Dutch, Serbian and Italian. Bit Eurocentric, but still.

posted by holden at 03:33 PM on June 24

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Have really been enjoying El Tri in this tournament. Not sure if it's just a matter of loving Miguel Herrera and his haircut and emotions, a younger generation of Mexican footballers without much of a history of bad blood with the U.S., the fact that they really have seemed to try to win games where the team (Brazil) or circumstances (Croatia) would suggest sitting back and being defensive as a viable strategy, or the general sense that we should get behind CONCACAF teams, but hard for me personally to gin up much bile for this Mexico squad.

posted by holden at 11:42 AM on June 24

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

With McCreary and Burns, I defy you to make a better case for best mustachioed class. Maybe the class that had Lanny MacDonald?

posted by holden at 10:55 PM on June 23

Luis Suarez Pushes England to Brink of World Cup Elimination

If I recall correctly, as Suarez slowly exited the stadium he was despondent and on the verge of tears. In the short time I've been obsessed with the World Cup (SportsFilter converted me), this incident is the one I remember best that didn't involve the U.S.

You remember the tears, but not the obnoxious reaction that followed.

posted by holden at 03:45 PM on June 20

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Pretty impressed with Costa Rica so far in this game and in this tournament. Very fluid passing and really taking it to the opposition, instead of sitting back against allegedly superior competition.

But yes, one well-placed through ball and that back line is potentially screwed.

posted by holden at 01:26 PM on June 20

Luis Suarez Pushes England to Brink of World Cup Elimination

I'm surprised that the concussion protocols in soccer are so lax. At least twice in the past year, we've seen someone literally get knocked out cold (Hugo Lloris in a game against Everton and lvaro Pereira in this England-Uruguay game) and then return to the match. Considering that studies have shown that the risk of a second concussion and lasting damage are much greater in the aftermath of a concussion, it's just amazing to me that there is no automatic removal from a game or even just a real evaluative process in the event of serious head trauma. I appreciate that soccer is not the same as American football, where the substitutions are free-flowing and whether a concussion has occurred and whether a player should be removed can be assessed without losing a player for the entire game, but soccer seems to be a bit behind the curve on this one.

posted by holden at 11:37 AM on June 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Chile's Vargas (no. 11) has a Jumpman (Air Jordan) tattoo on his neck. Bizarre and fantastic.

posted by holden at 04:59 PM on June 18

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Kind of surprised Fabregas has not gotten (and will not get) a run-out in this game. I know his club form has slipped, but he can help Spain with a bit more of a direct approach, and formations in which he has played with largely the same surrounding personnel (the Euro 2012 final, for instance) have been successful.

posted by holden at 04:47 PM on June 18

Keeper Guillermo Ochoa Saves Mexico's Tocino

Brazil have been insipid, but as Mexico and Croatia presumably will cancel one another out, I suspect it will not stop them from advancing.

Ochoa had a great game, although a couple (Neymar's last good chance and Silva's header as well) were hit right at him. Helps to be lucky and good.

On Russia, I felt bad for the goalie for about 10 seconds and then thought -- Crimea, screw them.

posted by holden at 10:36 PM on June 17

U.S. Defeats Ghana with Late Header by John Brooks

Agreed on the Ghana shirts, although let's hope the replica kit for fans is a bit less form-fitting than the Puma shirts the players wear. Players on all of the teams with those shirts (Ghana, Switzerland, Cameroon, etc.) look like they are wearing Batman suits, with chiseled physiques showing through. Doesn't nobody need a high definition look at my under-the-shirt parts.

posted by holden at 10:50 PM on June 16

U.S. Defeats Ghana with Late Header by John Brooks

The way Brooks initially seemed to almost call off the celebration after looking to the sideline made me think for a minute that the goal had been called off like that bullshit phantom foul on Maurice Edu's goal against Slovakia at the last World Cup.

Great result, pretty ugly game from a U.S. perspective. Holy cow did they give up possession cheaply. They will need better to advance.

posted by holden at 09:47 PM on June 16

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Not sure why Ronaldo (who came into the WC nursing some injuries) is still in this game, but that's good for the U.S.

posted by holden at 01:08 PM on June 16

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I don't know, I have a hard time recalling a headbutting of any level of force and that the ref or one of his assistants saw that did not result in a sending off. I mean, dude got a red card for this.

But yes, being Pepe did not help his cause.

posted by holden at 12:57 PM on June 16

The San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat 4-1 to win the NBA championship.

I meant to add France and make the point about all those teams being 4-1 and the Finals ending (not by coincidence? -- Sepp Blatter Illuminati-level stuff going on here) at 4-1 as well, but totally slipped my mind.

Poor Patty Mills and the other Australian guy. Being left out and bringing down the average. And poor Canadian guy, although hockey.

posted by holden at 12:50 PM on June 16

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Couple of observations from the Portugal-Germany game.

Raul Meireles has become Brian Wilson's soccer doppelganger. Apparently I'm not the only one to have tumbled to this.

Pepe really is a pantomime villain (as he's often referred to in the Guardian's MBM), but is more villain-y with the shaved head rather than what he has going on now. Perhaps if his head was still shaven, he would not have made the head-to-head contact with Muller that was guaranteed to result in a sending off. Love the weird situation that (a) head butting is relatively common in soccer as a form of aggression, and (b) is an automatic sending off, whether Zidane level or love tap.

I was initially thinking a draw would be the best result for the U.S. (as would be the case in a hypothetical group where every team is of relatively equal talent), but let's face it -- Germany are going to run away with this group, so the more points Ghana and Portugal drop, the better.

posted by holden at 12:47 PM on June 16

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Not on the goal line technology front, but were Honduras so cynical/negative in their play in qualifying (I missed both of their U.S. games in the hex)? Or is this just a matter of playing the only way they thought they could be successful against France?

posted by holden at 12:33 PM on June 16

The San Antonio Spurs beat the Miami Heat 4-1 to win the NBA championship.

Yeah, not much more LeBron could have done. But the problem is, if all those guys elect to opt into their extensions (or not opt out of their contract, whatever applies), he is likely going to be stuck doing this again. Maybe they'll get lucky and there will be no juggernaut like the Spurs coming out of the West, but either way the Heat are a cautionary tale for teams that would try to structure things on a "stars and scrubs" approach (with multiple max contracts), although it worked for them the two years prior (they just had better/younger role players).

As an aside, nations represented by Spurs players (judging from the flags I saw on display during the trophy presentation -- Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Australia) are 3-1 in the World Cup thus far.

posted by holden at 12:23 PM on June 16

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

For anyone interested in participating in the SpoFi fantasy league (the FIFA/McDonald's official game), issues with the proper link/league have been ironed out -- see the details here. Just over 3 hours to first kick-off.

posted by holden at 12:38 PM on June 12

World Cup 2015 Fantasy League is ON!

In as well -- thanks, Bill.

posted by holden at 12:33 PM on June 12

World Cup 2015 Fantasy League is ON!

Same here in terms of a message stating "This league is private. You must enter the password to join." -- using both spofi2015 and spofi2014.

posted by holden at 04:15 PM on June 11

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

In on fantasy.

posted by holden at 11:10 PM on June 03

CNN: Steve Ballmer Reaches Deal to Buy Clippers for $2 Billion

Wow. I'm amazed that the NBA let it get that high. I genuinely believed they'd step in and more or less force the sale to a non-white guy (or at least a consortium of white guys headed by a non-white guy) for about $600M as a penalty to Sterling.

At the end of the day, the NBA as an organization serves the interests of the owners, and it's hard to say that the interests of the 29 other owners are not served by getting $2B for a team and thus continuing the trend of skyrocketing valuations for NBA teams.

posted by holden at 12:18 PM on May 30

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

I sure do hope Rams go up. Although choosing between McClaren and 'Arry is like choosing between a colonoscopy and a root canal.

posted by holden at 12:06 AM on May 19

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

No need to apologize -- I just figured that a pick 'em is what inbred Derby fans called confidence pools down under.

posted by holden at 10:40 PM on May 18

Arsenal Comes Back to Win FA Cup Over Hull City

Pretty entertaining match. After Arsenal equalized, had the feeling it was only a matter of time. But, of course, that was counterbalanced somewhat by the feeling that Arsenal might just find a way to bottle it (and oh my goodness was that shot skittering across the front of goal after Metersacker slipped and Fabianski was caught out quite a moment there are the end).

I probably saw about half to two-thirds of Arsenal's league games this season (not an Arsenal supporter, but just watched a lot of the Premier League this season, now that I can get my kids to watch with me instead of cartoons), and man do they look a different team with Ramsey than without. Like the RVP injury-marred seasons of old, you have wonder whether/how things might have turned out differently had Ramsey not missed most of the first four months of this calendar year. Of course, not sure it would have made a huge difference in getting blown out in some of those games against their title rivals (specifically, Chelsea and Liverpool).

posted by holden at 04:36 PM on May 18

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Yes, I think a confidence pool (as proposed by grum) plus a fantasy game (FIFA runs one similar to the FPL game) would be great. Alex (qbert72) and/or DrJohnEvans used to host simple software for setting up confidence pools, but it has been down last couple times I tried to set something up.

posted by holden at 10:15 AM on May 18

Live: 2014 NFL Draft

Not sure if everyone has access to it, but the coverage on NFL Network is less insufferable than the coverage on ESPN. More of a less worse thing than better thing, although I do like Mike Maycock.

posted by holden at 10:46 PM on May 08

NBA Bans Donald Sterling for Life

Of course, if he does fight in civil court, he then loses all his new-found equity and potential sale worthiness. Maybe he doesn't care about $1Billion. (betcha his wife does) He could fight for years in court [...]

This would be the ultimate in cutting off your nose to spite your face. From what I have seen/heard, if a sale does not go through in the near term (over the summer), Rivers may walk and the players' union may push for immediate free agency for all Clips players, in which case the value of the team presumably goes way down. Of course, the timing and logistics of this would be really interesting -- assuming the players were able to get released from their contracts, would have to be timed to be done in conjunction with the normal free agency period (so that they are not scrambling to find teams once the cap room has all been taken up by other signings) and the union might look to push for some short-term or long-term cap exceptions (at least for ex-Clippers players), considering that there presumably would be one team no one wants to play for and therefore de facto less available money. Also would be interesting to see what players on player-friendly deals (overpays) would do, if they knew they could not fetch their current salaries on the open market.

posted by holden at 10:33 AM on April 30

NBA Bans Donald Sterling for Life

First of all, that's a straw man. Second of all, how did the NBA banning him drive up the value of the franchise? Here are some actual numbers. The fact a bidding war might drive the price up reflects the value of NBA franchises, not how the NBA has helped Donald Sterling.

yerfatma -- here's one for your prediction tracker.

posted by holden at 10:26 AM on April 30

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Pretty interesting day/weekend on both ends of the Premier League table.

posted by holden at 05:41 PM on April 27

Audio: Racist Tirade by Clippers Owner

Edit: "leg" (in "leg or otherwise") above should be "legal".

posted by holden at 04:59 PM on April 27

Audio: Racist Tirade by Clippers Owner

If MLB could effectively force out McCourt (albeit under different circumstances), I would have to think the NBA could effectively find some hook, leg or otherwise, to push Sterling to sell. If they do not do so, I think it has to be interpreted as a failure of imagination/resolve and lack of will, rather than a case of "our hands were tied" (which is what the justification will surely be).

posted by holden at 02:30 PM on April 27

The Borders of Baseball

On the first point, I mean overrepresented by Facebook likes relative to the proportion of true fandom they represent. Of course, if these are the two most popular teams, they should theoretically have the most likes. However, they can still be overrepresented in terms of teams that get "likes" because, for instance, they send out an email to people on their mailing lists saying "Like us on Facebook and be entered into a drawing to win tickets!" or some such. I would not take likes as anything more than a rough measure because of this. Maybe the Yankees and Red Sox fit in this category (hell, the Red Sox sold memberships in "Red Sox Nation", so they certainly are marketing savvy, if not specifically social media savvy), maybe they don't (and were thus a bad example), but the general point still stands.

With respect to the 133 million Americans having Facebook accounts, that's great in that it creates this huge data sample, but that does not get to whether some types of people are more likely to "like" a brand/team and thus be overrepresented in a quasi-scientific study that is based solely on the number of likes.

Look, it's a fun little chart, but all it shows us is what teams garner a lot of likes on Facebook in what areas. I don't doubt that it is largely accurate/representative of the boundaries of fandom as a whole, but the way this map seems to have been reported/described oversells it significantly in terms of the level of scientific precision reflected.

posted by holden at 05:30 PM on April 25

The Borders of Baseball

As noted by etalgoh, I would not put too much stock in the Facebook data other than just painting a broad brush picture of things.

First, if some teams are more encouraging/solicitous of getting "likes" or otherwise more social media-savvy, seems they would be over represented. Red Sox and Yankees seem they would fit in this case.

Second, seems some fan bases, based on demographics, would probably be more likely to have more fans with Facebook accounts (or Facebook accounts at which a user would tend to "like" things rather than just use to keep up with photos of grandkids) than others.

Third, for at least some portion/age groups of the population, seems that one might be more likely to "like" certain teams where that team is not the local/regional team, just because being, say, a Red Sox fan in Wyoming is something worth trumpeting as distinct as opposed to making a conscientious effort to "like" the Rockies when everyone knows that everyone in your town likes the Rockies.

Fourth, my guess is that, say in the case of the Giants, they got more likes in recent years as folks jumped on the bandwagon during their recent two recent successful World Series runs, whereas the A's get no such love despite having made the playoffs several times in the last few years.

Looks like those who put the map together probably adjusted and tried to control for some of this stuff and other noise/sample size issues ("We applied an algorithm to smooth the data and fill in gaps where data was missing."), but to me this map suggests a level of accuracy that is very much unfounded.

posted by holden at 01:59 PM on April 25

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

But to give up the game winning goal on a wrist slap shot from the blue line?

What year is this, 1978 1996?

[Couple bonus asides from that video/time period -- kinda miss Gary Thorne (hearing him here and, more recently, on Orioles broadcasts makes me pine for the playoffs of my youth), Gretzky being the one to lose the puck to Yzerman, 0-0 game at the end of regulation, I once had a Slava Kozlov jersey]

posted by holden at 10:51 AM on April 24

Albert Pujols Hits 499th, 500th Homer

I hope Pujols regains some of his lost form and sustains it for a while. His triple slash numbers this year so far (sample size caveats, etc.) are basically in line with his career numbers, minus 40 points of batting average (and thus 40 points of OBP), with slightly elevated slugging.

posted by holden at 10:33 AM on April 24

Albert Pujols Hits 499th, 500th Homer

DUDE CAN FUCKIN MASH, NUFF SAID.

posted by holden at 01:40 AM on April 24

Manchester United Fires David Moyes

According to the League Managers Association, the average tenure of current Premier League managers is 1.88 years. The crazy thing is that, assuming this is just a mean average, this drops nearly a full year if Wenger (currently at 18 years in the job) steps down or is let go. The lower tiers of League Football are not much better (and League One is actually worse, at 1.76 years).

posted by holden at 01:50 PM on April 22

Bench-Clearing Brawl Between Pirates, Brewers

Maybe the Pirates can be the new Official Arbiters of Baseball's Unwritten RulesTM now that Bryan McCann is no longer with the Braves to team up with Chris Johnson as Enforcers of the CodeTM.

posted by holden at 02:49 PM on April 21

UMass Basketball Player Says He's Gay

Maybe, but being out to a group small enough to keep it secret isn't generally what people think of as out. What you're describing is the "people who know me have known this for years" manuever.

I was thinking more along the lines of someone who is not being secretive about his sexuality and/or is not deliberately keeping it to a smaller group, and is genuinely out to anyone who was paying attention, but simply is under the radar because he is part of a smaller community without national sports exposure (say, someone who goes to Brown or Portland or something) and chose not to make an announcement on Twitter. I don't think there's an absolute "size of the group in the know" or "taking affirmative steps to broadcast it to the world" rule to being out.

Of course, it's basically impossible to fact check. Just was surprised that the media was so quick to christen him the "first openly gay D-I athlete" basically on his own say-so.

posted by holden at 12:06 AM on April 10