hincandenza's profile

Name: Hal Incandenza
Gender: Manly-man
Member since: January 29, 2002
Last visit: September 17, 2014

hincandenza has posted 46 links and 1648 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

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

NFL Pick 'Em, SUPERBOWL and final results: The final standings are in after all four founds of the Sportsfilter 2010-2011 NFL Playoffs Pick 'Em... and we have a winner!

posted by hincandenza to fantasy at 02:33 PM on February 08 - 6 comments

NFL Pick 'em, SUPERBOWL Round: : It's finally here: the last Sportsfilter Pick 'Em of the 2010-2011 NFL Season. A veritable smorgasbord of picks are to be found inside!

posted by hincandenza to fantasy at 12:17 AM on February 03 - 16 comments

NFL Pick 'em and Confidence Pool, Conference Round RESULTS: Results are in for the NFL Pick 'em and Confidence pool after the Conference Round. A pair of exciting games today, and some interesting results in our two pools!

posted by hincandenza to fantasy at 10:01 PM on January 23 - 9 comments

Recent Comments

Giancarlo Stanton Hit in Face with 88-Mph Pitch

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

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

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

posted by hincandenza at 05:39 PM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

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

posted by hincandenza at 05:28 PM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

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

posted by hincandenza at 12:39 AM on September 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

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

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

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

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

posted by hincandenza at 05:29 PM on September 11

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released

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

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

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

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

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

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


posted by hincandenza at 01:42 AM on September 11

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released

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

Plonk, indeed.

posted by hincandenza at 05:06 PM on September 10

Video of Ray Rice Elevator Punch on Partner Released

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

posted by hincandenza at 01:06 AM on September 10

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

Yeah, I can appreciate your rant, but I think your fears are unfounded.

First, a poo-flinging monkey would be an improvement over Selig, so I don't think Werner would be that bad. Second, while Werner might have done some things as Sox owner you don't approve of- and if there's one thing sabermetrics should teach us, it's that results-based assessment is risky- he did bring not one, not two, but three World Series trophies to Boston in the span of 10 years, and kept that lovely little bandbox of a park full for hundreds of games in a row. Third, if he became commissioner, it's not like he'd have the authority, or desire, to remake every team in his own image.

The TV revenue thing is meaningful if he'd oppose that, since I do believe the ideal end state (or near end state) for leagues like MLB is to have parity revenue sharing and a more rotisserie like model, where players are paid for what they do out of a general league pool that is based on a percentage of total revenue (to some extent, I believe this is what the NBA does; every team has a salary cap based on something like 58% of total revenue, and there's revenue sharing to keep it fairly balanced). But I also think he'd be less likely to do things like call a "tie" in an All-Star game. So, you know, win some, lose some...

posted by hincandenza at 08:54 PM on August 11

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I hope them tweeting that picture is not what pushed him over the edge.

oh god, I'm so sorry

posted by hincandenza at 08:39 PM on August 11

Tony Stewart Kills Driver in Dirt-Track Race

And minutes later, I've found this (certainly more informed than I) breakdown on reddit of why this is almost certainly a complete accident.

Granted, they use the same video that had me and most of us here convinced it was at least partially intentional, but they do explain the "rev" sound as likely unrelated and the conditions such that even an honest swerve could result in this outcome if Stewart didn't see him until the last second. So I'm glad I did express reservations about my own thiughts, and why a thorough and impartial investigation with more evidence is necessary and may fully exonerate Stewart. Plus, culture of the sport to point at the car or no, Ward should not have been walking into oncoming traffic and bears at least some responsibility in his own death.


posted by hincandenza at 02:00 AM on August 11

Tony Stewart Kills Driver in Dirt-Track Race

Just an fyi, but the main link goes to a baseball game recap.

Watching this single video, while I'm not ready to convict in the court of a public opinion- much less a court of law- it looks to me like what happened was BoKnows B) conjecture: Stewart was pissed, and tried to show up the kid with a little rev and close shave... and miscalculated. It's unlikely to be a *complete* accident, since the other drivers were going slow and giving room what with the caution flag, and Stewart could easily, with his skills, given wide berth such that a collision was well-nigh impossible. Rather, this looks like if an Olympic-level sharpshooter decided to play William Tell with someone and oops, they just shot a person in the head. Or perhaps an apter comparison would be a pitcher throwing a brushback pitch at chin/head level, and that two inch difference from 60 feet away is the difference between "establishing the strike zone" and hospitalizing someone. Which is why headhunters get tossed pretty quickly if the ump thinks they were throwing the beanball on purpose. And why the original move- running him into the wall by squeezing him- seems a rough but fair approach, like a brushback pitch at the chest level... but not what happened next.

Being great at something doesn't mean you're infallible, so this looks like Stewart got cute in the heat of the moment- with fatal consequences. In that one second when he sees Ward approaching his car on what looks like the next lap, angrily pointing, I suspect Stewart (based on zero ironclad evidence whatsoever) thought to make the kid jump back and "know his place". And he was off... by just a few inches.

I hope plenty of other video surfaces so we can get other angles (or rather, that investigators can watch them since I certainly don't want or need to see more), but to my untrained eye it looks like he tried to scare him and with Ward in motion, the near-miss became a literally correct term.

Which lessens but doesn't not erase legal culpability; not murder, but some level of manslaughter.

It is entirely plausible that an exculpatory video emerges that shows us a clearer, unambiguous accident or even Ward walking *into* the straight line path of Stewart's car, while Stewart attempts to swerve away at the last second and thus, wholly accidentally, fishtails him. Barring that, I can't see how Stewart walks from this with no repercussions; at minimum I suspect a heavy civil suit will correct whatever the law fails to address.

posted by hincandenza at 01:46 AM on August 11

Holy Sidd Finch! Minnesota Twins Sign Unknown with 100-Mph Fastball

The Twins knew about Poulson from his recent season with Academy of Art University, where he had an 8.38 ERA for the San Francisco school. [...] Poulson went 0-0 with a high ERA in 14 appearances and 19 1-3 innings for Academy of Art this season. He struck out 24, walked 24 and opponents hit .189 against him.
He's 24, never been drafted, has as many walks as strikeouts with a sky-high ERA... for an art school. Either this guy is more Dalkowski than Finch, or they accidentally had the radar gun on kilometers again when they scouted him.

In all seriousness, I hope it works out for him; he sounds like a physical specimen, and if they teach him to increase his accuracy by taking a few mph off the ball, he could make it; and who wouldn't root for a story about a young guy from nowhere making it to the bigs?

posted by hincandenza at 05:51 PM on July 30

Pitcher Freaks Out Because of Bunt in 2-Run Game

Over the next couple of seasons? I... honestly don't know if there is or not. How... how did you know that?!?

Seriously, though, when someone says "unwritten rules", whatever follows is just hot air. And as noted by DrJohnEvans, a shift is a risk that assumes a hitter can't reliably put it in a different location than their trend data suggests- so if you're wrong, then they reach first. Plus, 5th inning of a 2-0 game? Shit, I think bunting in a no-hitter with two outs in the 9th of a 9-0 laugher is totally legit, much less the 5th inning of a 2-0 game!

But the real worry for Texas is that when people start resorting to rules lawyering, it means they've completely beaten themselves already. Which would probably play some part in explaining why Texas has the worst record in the league.

posted by hincandenza at 11:56 PM on July 20

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Hey, how about that Clayton Kershaw, eh?

posted by hincandenza at 07:45 PM on June 20

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Wow, that's pretty damned blatant. And the original tag, I see nothing wrong with it; he fell because he was off-balance and backpedaling (out of the baseline, no less), not because Donaldson gave him some extra-forceful, unwarranted tag. That looked like a good, clean, no doubt and get the out type tag.

That Machado would then apparently milk that anger for three games is... wow. Unsurprising that Showalter would have Donaldson thrown at, but that's one of those B.S. "unwritten rules" that the old fogies love to wax poetically about, I guess.

Is there video of his hitting the catcher out there? Seems like that would be reason to get tossed/suspended right there. I found only this one, which has only the second swing in replay. He was smirking, but the swing itself... I can't say from that one replay (other than making an assumption that if it happened two pitches in a row, it has to be on purpose) that it looked definitely intentional... at least not to my eyes.

I disagree with the announcers in that mlb.com video clip you posted grum; I don't think the pitcher was thrown for the pitch before, but because in Machado's slim defense, the pitch where he threw his bat was also being thrown way inside, which sure looks like Abad was trying to hit him twice. Still doesn't excuse the bat tossing at all, but does make it more clear why the umpires tossed Machado and Abad (the pitcher). It's pretty long-standing that if the ump sees you throw two fairly blatant attempts to hit a batter in a row, they'll likely toss you.

But yeah, the histrionics from Machado, the flung bat (which not only was a punk move... he was way off the freakin' mark, given that it appears to be intentional for the reasons grum mentioned- eye focus, late timing, etc- and yet he was staring down the pitcher, not Donaldson), these alone ought to get him a hefty suspension of ~5 games I'd hope.

posted by hincandenza at 10:08 PM on June 08