Monday, June 23, 2008

I Heart Chicago


Really I do. It's the greatest city in the world (other than maybe Rome). And here I am, getting to fly in and do two days of training here, and do all the fun Chicago things. Flew into O'Hare this afternoon. Awesome. Except, wait. My training is not in Chicago. It's in somewhere called Naperville, a good 45 minutes to an hour outside of anything that could reasonably be called Chicago. And it's basically a poor man's Blaine. Great. At least I got a nice meal (Cajun Ribeye at Morton's) but there is nothing else to do here and I don't have a car. The good news is that they have beer in the little market thing by the lobby. The bad news is that Naperville has some kind of homosexual rule where they have to open the beer before you can take it to your room, so the max I could get at a time is four, and I'm in the room furthest from the lobby - it's like a ten minute walk back. I don't feel a whole lot of stamina tonight, mostly because WonderbabyTM has decided she quite enjoys crying at night, so let's see how this goes. F Naperville.

- Did you see the Blue Jays hired Cito Gaston as their manager again? I was so confused when I saw that. It was at like 4 am when I was feeding WonderbabyTM and watching Sportscenter, and I was wondering if I had drifted off and time travelled back to 1991. I mean seriously, the guy hasn't managed since 1997. That may not seem like much, but it's 9 years! That's almost 10. I don't even know what he's been doing since then, and I'm not going to look it up, but I'm betting it involved a street cart and some tacos of dubious quality.

- 10,000 B.C. comes out on DVD on Tuesday, and I'm telling you for your own good don't rent this. If you're a gigantic nerd like me, you were super stoked by the previews and got a nerd boner and wanted to see this. Well, I wasted my time and money in the theater and it's a huge piece of crap. I'm not going to get into a whole movie review thing here, because that's more Dawg's thing if he'd ever bother to post ever again, but let's just say that it's a mess. Theres a whole thing with a Sabertooth Tiger that is just forced and stupid, and the terrain they traverse somehow changes from frozen tundra to tropical forest to desert very quickly. That is a magical continent. Don't rent it. Don't.

- Other movies I've seen lately - SemiPro was also a huge turd, as was Fool's Gold (obviously). National Treasure 2 was also a piece of crap. I really liked the first one, but this second one just went out of it's way to try and be on a really grand scale and it did not work - at all, although Diane Kruger is quite attractive. Strange Wilderness was also bad, which surprised me because I think both Steve Zahn and that fat kid from Superbad are both quite hilarious. Juno was very good. And surprising me was a movie called Senior Skip Day which was really not bad. Mostly due to the performance of the lead character, who is basically a younger, slightly less than rich man's Ryan Reynolds (who I would probably make out with). It's kind of a Can't Hardly Wait/Eurotrip quite movie, that if I still was ever able to go out drinking all night and then come home with friends and drink some more, that would be in the late night rotation. Too bad I'm all grown up and totally responsible now.

- Speaking of not writing for this site anymore, since Grand Slam has disappeared of the map, our own Nick Faldo has offered up his services as our golf blogger. We should see his first contribution this week, so be gentle.

- The Girl Next Door is also a very good movie. I mean, I saw it a long time ago, but I'm flipping channels here and it's on FX. Good movie.

- So Curt Schilling's career is probably over. Let the Hall of Fame debate begin. Now, the biggest knock on him is he only has 216 career victories. To give a little perspective, that's less than Jamie Moyer and only one more than Kenny Rogers, neither of whom are anywhere near Hall of Famers. It is also sixth among active players, which is a note in his favor.

If you know and understand baseball and statistics, you know that wins are not the best measure of pitcher, not even close. I do, however, think they can give you a pretty good gage of a pitcher's career. Obviously, there are a lot of metrics that need to be looked at beyond that, but it is a decent surface look barometer, and Schilling doesn't really measure up.

I'm not a big believer in the 300 win barrier, as only 23 players in the history of the game have hit that number. So let's ignore things like career wins, 20 wins seasons, and all star games that idiots like to look at, and concentrate on things that matter.

First off, ERA. Now, ERA is also a fairly dubious way to evaluate a player, since it depends a lot on luck and the defense behind him, but it's not totally useless. Schilling finished in the top 10 in ERA in nine seasons - that's pretty good. Strikeouts per nine is a good way to look at dominance, and he finished in the top ten there ten times. WHIP is my personal favorite pitcher stat, and he finished in the top ten there 11 times. Eleven. That's fantastic. He posted a WHIP under 1 (phenomenal) twice, and under 1.10 nine times.

Another thing people will point to is his lack of a Cy Young award, and will point to this as not being "the best pitcher of his era." Well, he finished in the top four four times, including finishing second three times in a four year span - that's pretty dominant.

Honestly, when I started writing this, I figured no way was he Hallworthy, but now I'm a little more conflicted. He's hurt quite a bit by not becoming a full time starter until he was 26, and that's reflected in his win total, but once he did, he was absolutely one of the best pitchers of his generation. He finished with a WHIP+ over 120 twelve times, and was just incredibly consistent. Consistent at a high level.

According to baseball reference, his most similar pitchers are Kevin Brown, Bob Welch, and Orel Hershisher. That sounds like a pretty good pitcher, one of the best in the league for a stretch, but not a hall of famer, and that's pretty much my impression of him. Now, the big X-factor for Schilling is his postseason performance, which is nothing short of phenomenal. In 19 career postseason starts and 133.1 innings, he's posted a WHIP of 0.97 (and a 10-2 record). Just to put that WHIP into a lit bit of perspective, since Schilling broke into the league, just only nine pitchers have had a season where they pitched that many innings and posted a better WHIP (Greg Maddux (3), Pedro Martinez (5), Randy Johnson, Johan Santana, Kevin Brown, Roy Halladay, Jason Schmidt, Bret Saberhagen, and Pascual Perez?). Cherry-picking stats? Yes. But still makes an interesting point.

Basically, I think Curt Schilling is stil not a hall of famer (although baseball reference disagrees), but it's a hell of a lot closer than I originally thought. Another very interesting case is Mike Mussina, but I'll save that for another time.

- Speaking of Mussina, I just finished an interesting book by John Feinstein called "Living on the Black" which follows both Mussina and Tom Glavine around last season to give a little insight into the life on an aging pitcher. Honestly, although I love baseball books and I love Feinstein and I have a mad crush on Mussina, it was a little boring. His big mistake was just following the two pitchers and never delving into the lives of their teammates. Despite having a season where Glavine won number 300, the Mets had a historic collapse to end the season, and the first time ever Mussina was pulled from a starting rotation, it's still really slow. Needed to flesh out a little more of the teammates and what life was like for all of them. So not bad, but not great. Next up: 3 nights in August starring Tony LaRussa - although right at the start the author, Buzz Bissinger of "I hate blogs" fame goes into how people who are into statistics to evaluate baseball players "don't get it", so I'm already a bit apprehensive.

- On the way to the office today, they KFAN guys were talking about Jessica Simpson. At one point they mentioned her music, and I have spent the rest of the day trying to think of a single song of hers, and I got nothin'. Seriously, I can't think of a single song she has ever sang, ever. So her entire musical career has left zero imprint on my life. Killer rack, though.

- I was described by a co-worker today as "the quintessential really smart guy who doesn't fully apply himself because he doesn't have to." Pretty accurate. Not exactly high praise, but I'll take it.

- You know how when you're in a hotel, often times they will have labels on the tv stations, so when you change channels you'll know what channel you're on? Well this hotel has them, but they are all wrong. It says ESPN, but it's A&E. It says HBO, but it's USA. What the f is up with that? Your stupid city doesn't suck enough, you have to f with me on the tv too? It's all I have. Thank god for the internet.

- With the NBA draft just a few days away, I should probably say something, but I'm having trouble being interested, even with the Wolves having third pick because they will just screw it up. Here is Chad Ford's latest mock draft and I have some things to say.

1. Rose should definitely be the pick at #1. Beasley looked incredible last year, but things seemed really be really easy for him. Once he hits the NBA, he's going to have to work his ass off, and it's not clear if he's up to the challenge, whereas Rose appears to be. Stupid? Yes, pretty much, but when two players are this close, you have to find some kind of seperation somewhere.

2. Please don't take OJ Mayo. Please either trade down (great move) or take Jerryd Bayless. And it has nothing to do with Mayo's "character issues" because "character issues" are pretty much the most overrated thing ever. I'll take talent over charity work every time. Bayless is and will be a better player. Plus, and everyone seems to be ignoring this, Mayo will absolutely not resign in Minnesota after his first contract is up. Craves the spotlight waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much.

3. Going way too high: Eric Gordon, Mario Chalmers, Kosta Koufos, Robin Lopez, Mareese Speights. Interesting is to see Joe Alexander in the lottery. I expected him to be more of a sleeper mid-first pick, and I love his game. It seems Chad Ford might be figuring this whole thing out, I'll be interested to see if NBA GMs can do the same and take him that high. I'm predicting a Brady Quinn-like freefall.

4. The Wolves have two very early second round picks (#1 and #4), the kind where you can actually get solid players. According to Ford, they will get Devon Hardin and some dude from Australia, while NBADraft.net has them taking some Serbian dude and Bill Walker. I'd be pretty happy with Hardin and Walker. Ideally, I'd love to see them get Walker and Courtney Lee. Another intriguing possibility is Mike Taylor, formerly of Iowa State who lit the Gophers up at the Barn. Honestly, if Walker is there and they pass I'm going to assassinate Kevin McHale. Not kidding.

- Of course, NBADraft.net also has Trent Plaisted being drafted, and I'm almost positive he pulled out of the draft. Checking ESPN and I'm wrong, it was Lee Cummard who pulled out. Way to go Plaisted, enjoy being this years Rickert. Twenty bucks says the Jazz take him at #53 and then Boozer punches him in the face in a pickup game.

- There's more to talk about and tell you why everybody else is wrong, but I'm very tired, even though it's early, and the lady with the beer is very far away. More tomorrow.

1 comment:

bogart said...

I enjoyed reading your post.