FanDuel - WFBC

October 21, 2012

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 40 comments

Tampa love club alert: the Bucs are in their creamsicle unis today.

(I was lucky to be living there in 1979).

posted by beaverboard at 02:42 PM on October 21

Pinging off tommytrumps's link in yesterday's huddle, about John Farrell going (back) to the Red Sox as their new manager... I'm not sure how I feel about that. I think his greatest success was as a pitching coach, so he may indirectly help the troubled staff that was under-performing their payroll and talent the last few years. However, is he the right manager for this group? I can't help but think he'll be in a somewhat similar position as Toronto in terms of roster makeup/talent, but with far more pressure to perform.

And there's also the sad irony that Farrell left one year before Francona (they were former teammates back in their playing days) because he had a shot at a managerial job. Had he stuck around just one more year, he'd almost surely have been the top candidate to fill Francona's shoes from in-house, saving us all this silliness with Valentine in 2012. Then again, if he stuck around the 2011 squad might have not imploded in September and missed the playoffs by a game, and Francona wouldn't have been stupidly run out of town on a rail by the ownership.

At least, regardless of how Farrell does, he won't be the vindictive, media-unsavvy sh*tbag that Bobby the Fifth was in his worthless year. The only positive of Valentine's tenure in Boston is that now maybe the stake is in the heart of that guy's career about him being a "good manager".

posted by hincandenza at 03:55 PM on October 21

2012 SpoFi MLB fan vote.

Im interested in seeing who our MLB fans would like to see in the WS.

Cards or Giants or even a passing C or G

Should you decide to participate I'll end count when we know who is moving on.

and the fine print, only one vote per member, no prizes or awards will be offered, all you get is the is the satisfaction of knowing you voted.

posted by Folkways at 04:02 PM on October 21

Giants over Cards. I have a soft spot for San Francisco.

posted by hincandenza at 04:22 PM on October 21

Would rather see Giants and Tigers, but I'll take anyone but the Cardinals winning it again, which probably means they have an excellent chance.

posted by justgary at 04:25 PM on October 21

User dynomite posted this at SOSH about Farrell:

EDIT: And as I posted in the other thread:

Jon Lester with Farrell: 108 GS, 54-23, 3.40 ERA, 134 ERA+, 8.6 K/9 Jon Lester since Farrell: 64 GS, 24-23, 4.17 ERA, 104 ERA+, 7.9 K/9

Clay Buchholz with Farrell: 62 GS, 29-21, 3.68 ERA, 123 ERA+, 7.0 K/9 Clay Buchholz since Farrell: 43 GS, 17-11, 4.24 ERA, 102 ERA+, 6.3 K/9

Daniel Bard with Farrell: 122 GP, 2.61 ERA, 139 ERA+, 10.1 K/9 Daniel Bard since Farrell: 87 GP, 4.62 ERA, 91 ERA+, 7.6 K/9 (obviously extenuating circumstance)

Hopefully the correlation implies causation. We'll find out soon enough.

That I think is the heart of it. Jon Lester has already tweeted his excitement at Farrell coming back, so even if- or especially if- Farrell runs a pretty by-the-book team, but the pitchers hitting their prime return close to form, there's more WAR gained by "re-acquiring" the Lester and Buchholz of 2010 and before, than you'd get in any free-agent signing.

posted by hincandenza at 04:26 PM on October 21

I want to see the Giants, if only because I've never seen the Tigers play them in the WS...

posted by MeatSaber at 04:36 PM on October 21

Rooting for the Cards. Though I'm a Red Sox fan, St. Louis has been my NL team for many years.

posted by Scottymac at 05:57 PM on October 21

Rooting for the Cards because the last time the Cardinals went to back-to-back World Series', they lost the backend to the Tigers in '68. I'm hoping that helps the Tiges.

posted by NoMich at 06:00 PM on October 21

Giants. This Brewers fan will hate the Cardinals forever after last year.

posted by tron7 at 06:11 PM on October 21

My choice would be Giants over Cards, and Detroit wins it all.

posted by bperk at 06:19 PM on October 21

As a Padre fan, I hope the earth swallows the stadium whole in the middle of the 4th inning and both teams are eradicated from existence.

Giants: in my division. Can't root for them. Cards: seem to knock the Pads every time they go to the postseason ('96, '05, '06); have Matt Holliday on their team, who made himself infamous for Padre fans in 2007 by not touching home plate in the 1-game playoff between the Rockies and Padres.

posted by LionIndex at 06:38 PM on October 21

Giants, because I have no particular hate on for either team, and a tie in that situation goes to whichever team hasn't been to the World Series for longer. It ain't much in this case, but it's something.

posted by Etrigan at 06:41 PM on October 21

Giants

There are too many people who will go crazy if the Cards win the World Series as the 2nd wild card team.

posted by grum@work at 06:41 PM on October 21

Giants. The Cards are baseball herpes.

posted by etagloh at 07:28 PM on October 21

Giants. So the Tigers can win it all and give me something to hold over a friend's head for years.

Has anyone here been watching Raiders games? What is wrong with Darren McFadden?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:06 PM on October 21

My question was what was wrong with Jim Nantz at the end of the Jets-Patriots game. The Patriots had won in OT and Nantz was saying how the Jets had won as biggest underdog of the weekend and were now in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

Don't usually see him screw up simple situations like that.

posted by dyams at 08:15 PM on October 21

Well... lot of game left, but looking' like we're going to get a game 7 in San Franciso tomorrow (or Tuesday).

posted by hincandenza at 08:38 PM on October 21

The Patriots were fortunate to escape with a win today. They were well on their way to spacing out in the 4th quarter and not being able to close out a game - again.

I liked it better when Brady was single and Belichick was married.

posted by beaverboard at 09:43 PM on October 21

We got a game 7; with two great starts this series, Voglesong has a decent case for MVP, should SF win tomorrow (although the vote would probably go to Scutaro, I think two QS has more impact).

posted by hincandenza at 10:45 PM on October 21

Giants, because I have no particular hate on for either team, and a tie in that situation goes to whichever team hasn't been to the World Series for longer.

If the Red Sox and Yankees are out, I have to search for reasons to root for a team. I generally go with the longest since last WS win route. But I make exceptions.

I thought I would pull for the Cardinals because I thought it would be cool to see them win it without Pujols. But then the infield fly rule happened in Atlanta, and suddenly I saw Cardinal fans everywhere claiming there was nothing wrong with the call, and making fun of Braves fans for being upset (as if Cardinal fans wouldn't have complained in the same situation). And I just saw the Giants starting pitcher claiming 'god' was on his side, so yeah, Detroit it is (please don't piss me off Tigers).

posted by justgary at 12:02 AM on October 22

I really hope the Patriots are making a concerted effort to not peak too early this year and that's why they have been so uninspiring so far. It may just be the beginning of the end.

posted by feloniousmonk at 01:07 AM on October 22

Yeah, I posted that on my Facebook: they've won their 4 games by a combined 58 points- not excessive like the 2007 Patriots, but pretty solid- yet lost their three games by a combined 4 points, including two 1-point losses. In all three losses, they were tied or had a lead going into the fourth quarter (and they squandered a 10-point lead today, but did pull it out in overtime). This is a team that's literally a few yards' field position and a field goal from being 7-0 at this point- or one missed field goal today from being 3-4 and tied for last in the AFC East.

I think it was linked in a huddle a couple of weeks ago, but they've got this new offensive scheme, so hopefully being 4-3 right now is more about adapting to this new model, along with how/why their defense is dropping off in the fourth quarter. And they looked great in those last two drives in regulation/OT.

And with Buffalo having lost today, and with the Jets/Dolphins facing off next week, at worst the Patriots are tied for the lead in the AFC East after the half-way mark. So this could be a lot worse, and if Belichick and Co. can fine tune that fourth quarter strategy they should still be a playoff team.

posted by hincandenza at 01:58 AM on October 22

My pet theory is that they may be waiting to roll out the high impact stuff until after the bye week, which would hopefully result in pushing the peak back enough so that it occurs during the post season, rather than the 80% mark.

This may well be wishful thinking, but how many times do they need to lose to the Giants before they try something like this? We'll see. I am definitely starting to worry about age though. There are not so many years left for Brady in New England.

posted by feloniousmonk at 02:08 AM on October 22

To be clear, by "try something like this" I mean to try not giving their opponents an entire season to come up with a way to defend the crazy new idea they put in place. I'm happy in general that they are winning by focusing on a more fundamental offense (albeit one with crazy pieces), which is reminiscent of the glory years, where you never quite knew how they'd pull it out at the last second (back then, you knew they would) but it also seems like there might be something more to it as they gain confidence with the new system.

posted by feloniousmonk at 02:12 AM on October 22

But then the infield fly rule happened in Atlanta, and suddenly I saw Cardinal fans everywhere claiming there was nothing wrong with the call, and making fun of Braves fans for being upset (as if Cardinal fans wouldn't have complained in the same situation).

Along with those Cardinal fans claiming there was nothing wrong with the call, you should also add MLB and every umpire with whom I spoke. Just for balance.

Also, I think when you disrupt a game by endangering the players with a shower of debris and put yourself in the possible position of earning a forfeit, you deserve ridicule.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:47 AM on October 22

As much as I'd like to believe that Belichick is playing N-dimensional chess with the rest of the league up to this point, after 7 games I'm starting to think that they are what their record indicates -- a mediocre team playing mediocre football. Luckily for them the rest of the AFC East is mediocre or worse, so a playoff berth still seems likely.

posted by Jugwine at 10:02 AM on October 22

you should also add MLB and every umpire with whom I spoke. Just for balance.

Wait, you're telling me MLB and other umpires agree and support... other umpires? In a judgment call? What else you got for me? Clemens former Yankee teammates think he's innocent? Republicans still think invading Iraq was a good idea? (Your opinion of Major League Umpires is obviously much higher than mine.)

I've already over explained why the call was ridiculous and I'm not going to rehash it here, and any argument, honestly, that begins with umpires 'you spoke to' isn't exactly persuasive. Funny though.

My point was not whether the call was correct or not, but that Cardinal fans didn't seem to even want to discuss the call, as if even the discussion took focus off the vicory. Of course, I'm not talking about YOU, other Cardinal fans, away from you...

Also, I think when you disrupt a game by endangering the players with a shower of debris and put yourself in the possible position of earning a forfeit, you deserve ridicule.

Not a Braves fan, not defending them, not pulling for them. Simply trying to find someone to pull for using whatever I got.

posted by justgary at 10:35 AM on October 22

after 7 games I'm starting to think that they are what their record indicates -- a mediocre team playing mediocre football

Seconded. They look terrible. It's just that 90% of the AFC is worse. I don't understand how their offense can be so good and so bad against the same team on the same day. And the catcalls about Josh McDaniels are starting to get louder: every game, win or loss, includes at least one drive that's killed by the complete flop of a gadget play. I think yesterday was the first time I ever saw a flea flicker that didn't result in a pass being thrown, without the QB being sacked.

posted by yerfatma at 11:26 AM on October 22

Wait, you're telling me MLB and other umpires agree and support... other umpires?

I hate the Cardinals and umpires equally and I thought the call was fine, except that it was late. Though, if you want to assume the only explanation for supporting the call is bias and use it as an excuse to hate the Cardinals and umpires, I'm fine with that. After all, I hate those guys.

posted by tron7 at 11:52 AM on October 22

I've already over explained why the call was ridiculous and I'm not going to rehash it here.

That's good. It saves me explaining that by the letter of the rule, you were wrong then and you're still wrong. The call was made properly and if you're arguing it as "ridiculous," I can only assume you want the rule changed. The call might have "debatable," but it certainly wasn't ridiculous -- it fell well within the scope of the rule.

As for the umpires I spoke with, they had no reason to support an ump they didn't know. They simply agreed with the call, although one of them pointed out they would like a change in name to the "Infielder Fly Rule."

And yes, I'm guessing I do have a higher opinion of MLB umpires than you do. Given they are constantly criticized for rulings by people who have little to no knowledge of the rulebook (not including you in that, but players, coaches and media are shockingly misinformed) or not being perfect, I surprised anyone takes the job.

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:25 PM on October 22

I am in favor of the Cardinals winning (I am a Cards fan), but, honestly, between last year and the Nats series this year, it seems greedy to get too worked up if they lose. Hats off to the Giants if they are able to complete the comeback tonight -- six straight elimination game victories (and maybe more?) in the same postseason would be quite an accomplishment.

Silver lining here is that if the Giants win, I can unabashedly cheer for the Tigers, who were the local team for the majority of my youth and who I would like to see win over any team but the Cardinals.

As to the Cardinals fans being insufferable on the infield fly call in the Wild Card play-in, I guess I have not seen a ton of that. I do think the call was correct by the letter of the rule, but would also agree that the call would not be made in the majority of circumstances and the umpire should have made the call sooner. I certainly was not expecting the call, and would not have complained if it was not made. It does seem, however, that a post-hoc narrative has been built around that call that it cost the Braves the game, as if the winning run was called back on that play. While the Braves would have had a better chance of winning with the bases loaded and one out in that situation, the effect of that call is probably not as great as people seem to want to think.

As to the Cardinals in general, I have been surprised this postseason by the amount of negativity people seem to have with respect to the Cardinals. I think success (and perhaps postseason familiarity) breeds contempt, as does the fact that the Cardinals have won a couple of World Series in the past 6 years after just scraping into the playoffs. (Although it is worth noting that they had NL-dominating sides in 2004 and 2005 and lost in the WS in 2004 and lost in the NLCS the next year -- reinforcing the maxim that the playoffs really are a crap-shoot when considering they won with much worse teams in 2006 and 2011.) Will Leitch had a good write-up on why people might dislike the Cardinals the other day here.

I do think the "best fans" in baseball thing leads to some Cardinals hate and is pretty ridiculous; I had no issue when outsiders like Peter Gammons were labeling the Cardinals fans that way, but when the fans themselves seem to believe it, it has gone too far. I was at Game 5 in St. Louis on Friday (an awful game to attend, as the Cardinals got nothing going against Barry Freaking Zito), and the "rally towels" they were handing out included the "best fans in baseball" moniker. Made me want to puke.

posted by holden at 12:49 PM on October 22

I think success (and perhaps postseason familiarity) breeds contempt

Being an Alabama/SEC fan we have to deal with this quite a bit this these days.

For those that don't follow US college football (the oblong kinda ball not the round kind) the SEC has won the last 6 championships in a row with the U of A winning 2 of the last 3 and our other instate major University, Auburn winning the other. This out of 120 major college teams.

posted by Folkways at 01:59 PM on October 22

I find it kind of hard to hate Bama. Those kids are apparently enduring an utterly joyless collegiate athletic experience under Saban.

Plus, from my perspective, the days of Franchione and Price are not all that far distant in the rear view mirror. It ain't all been purty in crimson.

There was a time when it didn't seem like the Alabama AD stood any chance of getting an A list coach to take over that program.

posted by beaverboard at 03:21 PM on October 22

@beaverboard I can't say I disagree...

With either the days of Franchione and Price or

The players who choose to join "The Process" that has created college footballs "Machine"

Still this Bama team is untested on the field, as the computers rankin them at 5th and 6th bare out. MSU the one in MS not the in MI they beat back on week one being undefeated coming in this weekend will really help Bama's SOS.

posted by Folkways at 04:41 PM on October 22

On Farrell coming back to the Red Sox, both Pedroia and Ortiz have expressed some degree of happiness that he is returning. I believe I've mentioned this before on SpoFi, but if Farrell can spend a large portion of his time with the pitching staff and trust his bench coach and hitting coach (as well as the other coaches) to deal with the rest, he might have things turned in the right direction sooner than one might think. I'm not saying they'll be a playoff team next season, or even within the next 2 seasons, but it will turn around.

posted by Howard_T at 05:23 PM on October 22

That's good. It saves me explaining that by the letter of the rule, you were wrong then and you're still wrong.

It did save you time. Because I've already heard your reasoning and found it unconvincing and short-sighted the first time. No need for a second thread with the same debate. We disagree. Completely. I think it was a terrible call. You think it was the correct call. It's going to stay that way.

I can only assume you want the rule changed.

Definitely. I think the call was incorrect, AND the rule should be reworded. The umpire made the call, in his words, when the infielder raised his hands. That's all he took from the play. If the umpires are in agreement that he made the right judgment on the call, then the rule should be changed so that in a similar play where the call isn't needed, it isn't called. If the umpires are incapable of making a judgment call that results in a better game, the rule book should be clearer on the topic.

I surprised anyone takes the job.

Major League Baseball umpires get around $120,000 when they start out in the big leagues, and senior umps can earn upwards of $300,000. Between spring training, a 162-game schedule, and the postseason, being an MLB ump is a job that takes up most of the year. They are, however, well cared-for while on the road. Each ump gets a $340 per diem to cover hotel and food, and when they fly, it's always first class. Working a full postseason can tack on an extra $20,000, plus expenses. They also get four weeks of paid vacation during the regular season. These guys hang onto their jobs, too; on average, there's only one opening for a new big league ump each season.

Sounds like an awful job (that a lot of people want and no one leaves). Honestly, I think most umpires do a good job. But there's no accountability; the fact that Angel Hernandez still has a job shows that. And I was someone that never wanted replay. But the game is simply beyond umpires at this point, and I'm for it now.

Though, if you want to assume the only explanation for supporting the call is bias and use it as an excuse to hate the Cardinals and umpires, I'm fine with that. After all, I hate those guys.

I don't know if I'd call it bias. MLB umpires admit mistakes when video makes it clear, that's about it. In a judgment call I doubt you're going to see anyone break ranks. As for MLB officials, they're already got flack for a single game elimination, admitting a call was botched during that one game would be a nightmare.

I think success (and perhaps postseason familiarity) breeds contempt...

Yep. Everyone hated Yankee fans, then the Red Sox won, and everyone hated Red Sox fans, even more than Yankee fans, because unlike Yankee fans, Red Sox fans didn't have a history that backed their obnoxiousness. In other words, Red Sox fans were acting like Yankee fans, without anything to back it up.

But I don't think Cardinal fans will every reach that level simply because St. Louis isn't the media centers NY and Boston are, where the Yankees and Red Sox are pushed down everyone's throats even when they suck.

While the Braves would have had a better chance of winning with the bases loaded and one out in that situation, the effect of that call is probably not as great as people seem to want to think.

I don't believe that, however. The Braves hurt their chances more than the blown call, and they probably still would have lost. But, we will never know. The reason I hate the call is not because I have a rooting interest at all, but because I want to watch a great game. And the only thing that call accomplished is getting in the way of what should have happened (much like an inadvertent whistle in football).

posted by justgary at 08:18 PM on October 22

But I don't think Cardinal fans will every reach that level simply because St. Louis isn't the media centers NY and Boston are, where the Yankees and Red Sox are pushed down everyone's throats even when they suck.

The Cardinal fans don't rave about their team, they rave about themselves.

The last game had towels that said "Baseball's Greatest Fans" (or something similar).

posted by grum@work at 10:28 PM on October 22

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