Draft Dread, Morneau’s Head and the Undead

Justin March 26, 2012 0

Have you ever seen bad stand up?  I’m not talking about watching a special on Comedy Central that doesn’t make you laugh. I mean sitting in a club or a bar and watching someone stand in front of a microphone and fail.   The performer keeps throwing out jokes and the audience gives back nothing. It’s the most uncomfortable thing in the world.

But at least the people in the audience came for comedy.   It’s not like he walked into a bank and started telling bad jokes to people while they waited in line. The audience knows what the guy is trying to accomplish, even if he’s not reaching the goal.

Last night, I had an online fantasy baseball draft.  As any fantasy player knows, Yahoo provides a chat option so people in the league can communicate in real time while picking their teams.  Sometimes, that’s a lot of fun. If everyone is into it, throwing barbs and ripping on each other, the chat can be the best part of the night. But, other times, it just doesn’t happen. Maybe the people in the league don’t know each other that well. Maybe some of the people are drafting while they’re doing something else. Maybe there’s just nothing to say.  Last night was one of those.

Except for one guy.

One guy kept making comments.

“Hey, nice pick, guy… if this was 1991.”

“Oooh.. I hate doing this, but I’m gonna have to take this guy.”

“Wow. Two second basemen in a row? You must know something the rest of us don’t”

And it continued like that through the whole draft. No one else posted a comment. Just one guy throwing out bad jokes to an audience that wasn’t buying.  And, the whole time,  I imagined him sitting there with a self satisfied grin, thinking to himself “Man, I am tearing these guys up! They don’t even have comebacks.”

Let’s revisit the stand up from earlier. At some point, the audience feels bad for him. You don’t want him to fail. You just want it to be over. You want to watch him put the microphone back in the stand, stare at his feet and slink off the stage, ending the collective misery for everyone.  But, what would happen if the comic ended his terrible set, threw down the microphone and pumped his fist triumphantly?  What if he misread the room completely? What if he thought he had absolutely killed and the only reason the audience didn’t laugh was because they were stunned by what a funny motherfucker he is?

That would be really annoying, right?

Sports Illustrated: March 26th, 2012

Albert Pujols, Baseball, Anaheim Angels




Earlier in the week, King Ing posted this photo of model Chrissy Teigan under the title, “Justin you need to do this!”

Chrissy Teigen Albert Pujols

I know what you’re thinking. King Ing forgot a comma in that headline. I won’t hold it against him. He asked. I deliver.

My beard lines up better.

Richard Hoffer’s Scorecard column is possibly the most unfortunately timed piece of writing ever to appear in Sports Illustrated. He writes about how media sensations have short shelf lives these days, even crazy ones like Tebow-mania and Linsanity. Unfortunately, this week’s magazine began arriving in people’s mailboxes last Wednesday, in the midst of a Knicks resurgence led in no small part by Jeremy Lin and just one day after Tim Tebow was traded to the Jets.  Shelf life expanded.  I wrote this on Saturday, with the intention of including it here today:

Tim Tebow is destined to become the next Doug Flutie, an above average quarterback whose gimmicky nature and cult of personality make him consistently more attractive to his next team than his current one.  That will become exceedingly obvious in New York.

We, as a metropolitan area, are not immune to athlete induced mania. You only have to look at Jeremy Lin to see that. But, Lin came out of nowhere, proving himself on the court before we ever knew the details of his personal story.

Tebow is a national sensation for two reasons. America loves college football and America loves Jesus.

In New York? not so much.

He will not get the benefit of the doubt here like he would down south or somewhere out west. If anything, his reputation could serve as a hinderance here. New York makes its own characters. We don’t import them from elsewhere.

But, then I watched Tebow’s press conference today. He was poised. He was confident. He was honest about his religious beliefs, while acknowledging that New York might not be the best place to talk too much about them. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’ll be something between a disaster and a non factor on the field. But, maybe I’m wrong about him as a personality. He might make it here after all.

One more thing before we move on. Sportswriting legend Bert Sugar died yesterday. He sat down for a SportsCracklePop interview a few years back.  My favorite part was his explanation as to why newspaper reporters used to wear hats:

And here, a quick story as to why reporters of olde wore hats: Seems that papers of yore were built so that the editorial room was the floor below the linotype room and the filings of the hot lead drifting down in a steady drizzle on the heads of the writers on the floor below. So they took to wearing hats to keep the drizzle of filaments off their heads. If you see old movies, like”Front Page”, you’ll see writers wearing their hats indoors for the above mentioned reason.


The Powers and The Glory by Tim Layden

Tim Layden takes us through the first weekend of the NCAA tournament by writing a little bit about each team that made it to the 2nd weekend. But, instead of breaking the piece down into 16 little sub-articles, he does it in a narrative style that I really like.

Albert’s Second Act by Tom Verducci

When he’s on, Tom Verducci is capable of being the best baseball writer in the game. And he’s on in this profile of Albert Pujols. You get inside the mind and the swing of the Angels new first baseman. One thing that shocked me, though, is that it begins at a batting cage in St. Louis. Pujols rejected that team and that city. It seems odd that he’s still spending his off seasons there.

Recovery Wards by SI Staff

This is short vignettes about key players coming back from injury. It’s a visual article, illustrated with creepy up close graphics of the injuries these players are coming back from.  I find the closeup of Justin Morneau’s scrambled brain especially disquieting.

Swing Theory by SI Staff

This is a fun collection of stats and story angles for the upcoming season. The illustrations are pretty cool too.

Scouting Reports by SI Staff

I say this every year. My two favorite issues of Sports Illustrated are the baseball preview and the NBA preview. Over the years, the formats have changed. It seems like the editors have consolidated for space. But, in this case, I like what they’ve done. Each division gets a full write thru, which weaves through the teams individual previews. The question is, how do you read it? What’s your strategy? Here’s what I did:

1. Read the full division article

2. Go back and look at the “best bets” for the division

3. Begin reading the team by team previews

3a. First, I look at the team’s predicted lineup

3b. Next, the pitching rotation

3c. Now, I read “enemy lines,” the collected musings on the team made by opposing scouts

3d. Look at “The number,” the one statistic from each team that Sports Illustrated thinks is particularly interesting. (They are  not  actually very interesting

3e. Finally, we read “modest proposal,” otherwise known as “Joe Sheehan throws out some cockamamie idea that he thinks will help the team win even though it goes against a century of baseball orthodoxy and has no chance of ever happening. The Tigers should bat Miguel Cabrera second? Shut the fuck up.

4. Move on to the next team.

Sully and The Mick by Jane Leavy

Jane Leavy’s book about Mickey Mantle, which came out a year or two ago, was a horrible piece of garbage. What she presents as insight is actually a series of pages long studies of incidents that no one has ever cared to look into the past coupled with creepy remembrances of Mick drunkenly trying to fuck her.   And now she follows it up with a profile of a former Red Sox pitcher who, in that terrible book,  SHE SAID WAS DEAD!  “hahaha. Fact checking is beneath me. Let’s talk about this guy who I never bothered to look up before I wrote about him.”

POINT AFTER by Phil Taylor

Lot’s of magazines and websites have decided to cash in on the excitement of March Madness by making up funny tournaments of non-basketball related topics. It’s been going on for years. Phil Taylor apparently just figured this out.


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