Sunday, February 05, 2006

Not-entirely-processed thoughts

1. Last night I was in a bar and College Gameday Basketball edition was on. They showed highlights of the Duke-FSU game, of which I actually watched about half. The refs, as always, were clearly affected by Coach American Express's constant bitching. After the highlights of the game, which was affected by a late no-call on a drive by FSU, Rece Davis was talking and they showed a graphic table laying out the numbers on how many more free throws Duke shoots than their opponents. The numbers support what everyone who watches basketball has been saying for years. Duke gets calls. (The BC game the other night was another clear example of how backbone-less refs are putty in the hands of "I consider myself a leader who happens to coach basketball). Anyway, it was another good display of how ESPN's producers marginalize the wrongs about sport. After putting up the damning numbers, they throw it to knownothing screamer and Coach K fellater, Dick Vitale, who followed up the objective facts with raving lunacy and entirely unobjective opinion saying the foul discrepancy is a conspiracy theory and all. See how it works? Put up the facts not in dispute, then allow the supposed geniuses to dispute them without anyone calling them on their bullshit. ESPN did this constantly on College Gameday for football. They'd show a graphic or stat, and then let Corso or Herbstreit say how "the numbers don't tell the whole story", unchallenged. One clear example I recall was prior to the last week of games (the Conference championship games). They had a discussion over who were the most deserving teams for at-large BCS bids. Fowler introduced a graphic that displayed the records, offensive and defensive stats, strength of schedule and record against top-25 teams of two teams, with the names of the schools hidden. One team had an objectively better claim, in every category. Then Fowler revealed the teams: Auburn had a better claim than Notre Dame. Of course, Auburn wasn't even in the discussion at the time. Then, after showing the objective facts in the graphic, they threw it to Herbstreit, who then talked about how the numbers didn't mean anything, because Ohio State and Notre Dame were clearly most deserving. Unchallenged. It's an embarassment. And shame on ESPN for allowing Vitale to cover for Duke.

2. Unlike my post last week, I was actually not annoyed this weekend by the refs in the Georgia-Vandy game. I thought there were plenty of calls that could've been made against UGA and for the Dawgs, but the officiating was fine, in my opinion, because they called the game consistently. It was a loosely called game. But it was loose from the very beginning, and stayed that way. And that's much better than refs who change their definitions of what is acceptable in the middle of the game (like last weekend). Good win for the Dawgs too. NIT this year, NCAA next.

3. Droopy Dog Watch might return soon, but his columns are behind the Insider wall now, so I'm not sure how much I can get away with commenting upon. Actually, I know I can comment on it, I just might not be able to cut and paste what he writes. And that's a drag. Anyway, his column this week ($) is of local notice, since it's about how the Braves have no closer, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Mostly just a history lesson and a look around the closer situations around the rest of the league. One interesting thing is that he thinks only 14 teams are set at the closer position. Less than half the league! Pretty incredible. So not much to bitch about, and he even gives a shoutout to real baseball bloggers (well deserving, since they're significantly better than most of what he's written). But then he slots in this odd bit about prospects at the end. He mentions Baseball America as if it's a new thing (I've known about it for years, and I'm not that much a baseball loon) and then kind of craps on the traditional scouting system. As "proof" this, he lists the consensus top prospects from 1998-2000. It seems like he's saying there are a lot of busts on the lists, but when I look at it I see a bunch of all stars: Tejada, Konerko, Beltre, Chavez, Furcal, JD Drew, Pat Burrell, Kerry Wood, Vernon Wells, Pavano. These are all guys who have made a major impact on a team. There are a few guys who missed, but pretty much all of them made the bigs and stayed on for at least a while. I guess he could knock Ankiel's listing on there twice, but if anyone overhyped Ankiel, it's Gammons. His psychological troubles are probably related to the trauma from seeing Pedro's jowls slapping against Rick's inner thighs. I guess it's just more typical "I don't really know what I'm writing here" Gammons.

4. I have a bit to say about the ESPN the Magazine I got in the mail yesterday. Stay tuned.

5. Another programming note: Coming up on my one year blogging anniversary. I'll have a small recap of what's transpired, and I'm throwing in a few lists of my consumption over the last year. Best movies I've seen, best books I've read, etc. And this weekend we have a new competitor for worst movie I've seen in the last year. Serious shit. I didn't think Spanglish would get topped, but this one might've done it. Recaps coming soon too.