hincandenza's profile

Name: Hal Incandenza
Gender: Manly-man
Member since: January 29, 2002
Last visit: October 21, 2016

hincandenza has posted 49 links and 1779 comments to SportsFilter and 4 links and 51 comments to the Locker Room.

Sports Bio

My name? Same reasoning as at my Metafilter page... from the book "Infinite Jest".

Grew up as a long time New Hampshire-ite, and thus a New England sports fan: die-hard passion about the Red Sox, enjoy the Celtics and Patriots, but honestly couldn't care less about the Bruins.

I still recall being 11 years old, leaping up and down in the living room with my dad standing up as the Red Sox were one strike away in 1986. I hollered for my mom to come in and witness history, and she called from the other room "Ah, they're just going to blow it." Mere moments later, Schiraldi's passed ball, etc. etc. Forget the Bambino- my mom is the reason the Sox lost that year.

Currently live in Seattle, big into the Mariners. I root for them as much as the Red Sox these days, and would love to see them win the championship. However: while last year, during that magical 116-win season I realized would have actually rooted for the M's over the Sox had they met in the ALCS (only because of the 116 wins, you understand, and because it didn't "feel" like the Sox year that year- fortunately the Sox imploded and that dilemma was avoided for a season), as a general rule I root for the Sox first and foremost. And since the Sox and M's both have exceptionally good chances to make the playoffs, I hope they don't go directly head to head because then I'd have to root against the M's.

This year, with the Sox playing historically well, I'm hoping they can finally make all us long-suffering Red Sox fans complete.

But my mom's right- they'll probably just blow it anyway.

Recent Links

Alex Rodriguez to retire from baseball: Inarguably the greatest shortstop to ever play the game, and certainly one of the greatest hitters in history, Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees has formally announced the intention to retire next Friday, and move into a position as special advisor and instructor for New York.

While the terms of the agreement with the Yankees does allow him to pursue a position on other major league teams, his dramatic loss of skill this year makes it likely he'll have played his last game some time this week, ending an often contentious, rarely popular (with fans or media), but undeniably successful on-field career. Barring an unexpected homerun barrage in the next few days, or a stint with another team next season, he'll finish just shy of the 700 HR mark and the fourth highest total of all time.

posted by hincandenza to baseball at 10:37 PM on August 07 - 2 comments

Ichiro finally reaches 3,000 major league hits: Fittingly for one of the game's most unique hitters, the slap-hitting wizard got his 3,000th hit as a triple (video) off the right field wall in the 7th inning of the Miami-Colorado game, capping an illustrious major league career.

Or possibly not "capping": while not the same electric All-Star hitter he was in those first 10 years after breaking in as a much-hyped 27-year-old rookie for Seattle in 2001- when he racked up 10 straight 200-hit seasons including the single-season record of 262- he is still a productive player this year, hitting .318 (110 OPS+) in limited playing time with Miami. Seemingly ageless, he has even said he'd like to play until he is 50, which for a player of his style and rigorous fitness regimen isn't beyond the realm of possibility, potentially adding to his already gaudy career statistics and delaying what is almost certain to be a first-ballot HoF induction.

posted by hincandenza to baseball at 10:15 PM on August 07 - 3 comments

John Oliver tackles the NCAA and student athletes: In an extended segment on Sunday's "Last Week Tonight", John Oliver delved into the issue of unpaid "student-athletes" and the onerous and exploitative NCAA money machine.

posted by hincandenza to basketball at 12:50 AM on March 17 - 2 comments

Ichiro reaches 4,000 hit milestone between Japan (1,278) and MLB (2,722 and counting).: While his production is a shadow of those early Mariners years when he was a 200+ hit machine for more than a decade (just LOOK at that rookie spike of 242 hits, or the record-setting 262 hit season), the 39-year-old Yankee outfielder continues to produce at a decent if unremarkable level.

Questions arise over how long Ichiro will continue to suit up (he's signed with the Yankees through the 2014 season), but even at his reduced performance level, if he can stay an every day player into the 2015 season he'll almost surely eclipse the 3,000 hit mark in MLB.

posted by hincandenza to baseball at 10:08 PM on August 22 - 17 comments

Comment Editing: Wow, I'm not really not cool with the comment editing- chide me if you must, but if you're going to rewrite comments (and without clear indication, to boot), this site just became a whole lot less friendly.

posted by hincandenza to editorial policy at 05:57 PM on September 05 - 33 comments

Recent Comments

Ichiro finally reaches 3,000 major league hits

Tangentially related, I was surprised to find that Adrian Beltre is next up on the active players list with 2,876 hits. He's currently 37 and has a contract through 2018 with the Rangers, and is still an everyday player, so barring injury or cataclysmic drop-off he should get his 3,000th hit sometime after the All-Star break next season. Even if he just finishes out his Texas contract, he'll likely be well over 3,000 hits, around ~460HR, while being one of the very, very best players to ever wield a glove on the hot corner (although he has fewer Gold Gloves than Derek Jeter, so it's questionable that anyone voting for the HoF remotely understands how to evaluate defensive play).

I used to love watching Beltre play in Seattle (and in his one season with the Red Sox), but as good as he is defensively I've never really thought of him as a premiere offensive threat, and I wonder if that lack of being a "water cooler name" will hurt him in the HoF voting.

posted by hincandenza at 12:24 AM on August 08

Alex Rodriguez to retire from baseball

The timing seems odd to me, setting a mid-August date as opposed to end of the season. I am kind of curious if the Yankees will even play him at all over the next few days, and what they'll do if he actually hits a couple of homeruns before 8/17 (lord knows, if he gets playing time, he might as well swing for the fences in every single at-bat). Do they extend the agreement to the end of the season or at least until he reaches the milestone?

With the Yankees effectively out of contention this year, it seems almost spiteful to pull the plug with 51 games left in the season. The reasons wouldn't be financial; after settling a dispute on his bonus for tying Willie Mays with 660 last year, his next contractual homerun bonus wouldn't have come until 714.

posted by hincandenza at 10:44 PM on August 07

Ichiro finally reaches 3,000 major league hits

Interestingly, in this longer streamable vid that contains more of the players congratulating Ichiro, you can see none other than Barry Bonds- the current Miami hitting coach who was blacklisted from the game only 14 hits shy of the same milestone- congratulating Ichiro on his accomplishment. Who could have predicted that in 2016, both players would be wearing Marlins jerseys when hit number 3,000 came. :)

posted by hincandenza at 10:30 PM on August 07

Chris Christie: Hot Female Tennis Players Are Hot

rcade: Are women's tennis players good looking? Often. Should a discussion of any women's sport by men be entirely about good looks? Not if they are genuine fans.

Where was the host going with this comment? "You need attractive European tennis players so that you have something to do other than watch the Listen, I love the Williams sisters; they're American and they win all the time. But for the sport, you need some of --"

Why do we need Europeans? What's he suggesting is deficient in the Williams's?

Calling something "virtue signaling" or "moral purity posturing" suggests I'm fishing for outrage in calling attention to this. Consider the possibility that I'm interested in the topic of how we talk about a women's sport -- and I have some faith in this site to be elevated over the average flamewar.

For the first bolded part, this is what irked me. It is deeply, profoundly disturbing to me in general how the web has become Orwell's nightmare: people policing each other, constantly, pouncing on every little statement or misstep. God help you if you ever, in your life, utter the wrong thing, or get the bitter social gestapo on your ass determined to ruin your life and throw you in the Internet Stockades. If all coverage, news, and discussion about women's tennis was just lads talking about chicks, then sure that's a discussion worth having. But that it happened in this one case? That seems like a complete non-issue, as both men and women will on occasion turn their thoughts and conversations to issues of sex, sexuality, and attractiveness- especially whenever discussing famous and fit people.

As for the second bolded part, yeah when I was reading the article/listened to the soundcloud clips, I was more struck by that phrasing than anything Christie said, and thinking "Uh...?". But I still don't care. It's a radio guy I've never listened to before and won't listen to again, so if his genital-driven sports fandom is a tad racist that's too bad... but also isn't a big deal unless he's actively out campaigning for a return of Jim Crow laws. I once knew a guy I worked with at Microsoft who happened to genuinely, sincerely believe in that David Icke world-leaders-as-lizard-shapeshifters stuff; still, he hardly ever mentioned it except the couple of times it came up in cafeteria conversation, and otherwise he was a nice guy. Life's too short to worry if someone has a bad opinion I don't agree with, unless they're forcing their standards on me or other people.

Which leaves me still not sure what there is to discuss about it, as one guy on the radio does not equal "how we talk about a women's sport". People say things, and talk about different things, that's one of the great things about a free country. But if I look at Hugh Janus' comments, I see a lot of name-calling, a lot of cheap implications about genitals and erections, and some sort of dismissive manbaby concept; all because someone dared only to suggest this was a non-issue.

Given how quick and angry his own reaction, am I really off-base then, in talking about struggle sessions and moral purity? And what was that you were saying about flamewars?

posted by hincandenza at 08:21 PM on June 09

Chris Christie: Hot Female Tennis Players Are Hot

Okay. So?

First, I still hold out hope that this site doesn't turn into the other *filter site.

Second, the "quotes" you put in this post imply these were things said by Christie... but were in fact said by the show's host, which is born out by the article and attached clips. Christie seems to have contributed little to those particular comments, simply added that he liked "Martina" when the host was mentioning top female players.

Third, so what?!? Even if Christie said all the things you quote, am I supposed to care, much less "do something"? For chrissakes, can't even this tiny little site off the beaten path be free from this childish culture of virtue signaling and moral purity posturing that's taken over everywhere else on the web?

So a radio host thinks athletic people can be attractive, and we were able to determine that another person will, over the course of four hours, also say something similar. Shocking. Amazingly, human beings find each other attractive, and frequently talk about it and think about it. It's not a sin, it's not opression, it's not a campaign against womenfolk... it's human beings, being human.

posted by hincandenza at 06:27 PM on June 09

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