Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

FJM has gone dark for the foreseeable future. Sorry folks. We may post once in a while, but it's pretty much over. You can still e-mail dak, Ken Tremendous, Junior, Matthew Murbles, or Coach.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Oh, Ned.

You lovable little wrong-head.

Ned Colletti is cornering the market on leadoff hitters. One year after signing Rafael Furcal to a surprising three-year, $39 million contract, the Dodgers GM landed Juan Pierre for five years, $45 million.

They apparently will bat Pierre in the No. 2 spot, using his high-contact, low-impact approach in a traditional, Nellie Fox fashion. It's amazing that a guy the Cubs were ambivalent about re-signing could land a five-year contract, but Pierre has a good reputation within the game and led the National League with 204 hits.

"This man gets on base an awful lot," Colletti said. "He gets 200 hits or more, is a great guy on a club and, like Nomar (Garciaparra), has great qualities as a human being."

The man gets on base a lot.

Does Ned know what "gets on base" means?

Juan Pierre OBPs

2006: .330 (32 BBs)
2005: .326 (41 BBs)
Career: .350

In his career he has 258 BBs in 4110 AB.

Or...26 more walks than Barry Bonds had in 2004.

His EqA last year was .255. In 2005, .257.

What do we know about EqA, kids?

.260 is league average. And it takes SB into account, so don't start yelling about his SBs.

At least Pierre averages 12 HR. Per 4110 AB.

Can Juan Pierre's great qualities as a human being reach base? Because if they can, he might be worth the forty-five million dollars they are going to pay him until he is 34 years old. Hitting him second is going to murder this offense.

And as the linked blurb goes onto say:

Pierre also led the league with 20 caught-stealings, the fifth time in six years he has been at the top of that category. The most troubling stat was just 32 walks in 740 plate appearances. Pitchers have realized there's no reason not to challenge him.


The Dodgers would have been better to re-sign Kenny Lofton and wait another year on 22-year-old Matt Kemp, who has shown he can become a dynamic force in center.

Ned Colletti is so much better than Paul Computeresta, isn't he?

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posted by Anonymous  # 12:17 AM
Thanks to Exeter, NH's own FJM reader Eric for the tip.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006


No I Most Certainly Did Not

Though I was in San Telmo today. No joke.


posted by Anonymous  # 11:19 PM
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You Guys I think Ken Tremendous Just Robbed Barbara Bush (The Young One)


posted by dak  # 10:49 PM
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I'm Still in Argentina

I know it's well-trod territory, but has anyone else remarked on how the first college bowl game is called:

The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl


I mean, who's running the NCAA these days, Johnny Gentle (Famous Crooner)?

(That's for you, dak.)

(And for me.)

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posted by Anonymous  # 7:14 PM
Only those of you who have read Infinite Jest can possibly understand how incredibly well done dak's comment is. Trust me: it is incredibly well done.
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Buenos Noches, Amigos!

I am in Argentina.

Every day in my hotel I get a little distilled edition of the NY Times slipped under my door. Today I read it as I sipped my coffee and watched "Tommy Boy" on F/X Buenos Aires. (It loses something in the translation.) And today, my NY Times distillation had an article about the AL MVP voting (which had not yet happened). The title of the article was "Jeter Looms as an MVP Candidate."

In the distilled article, there was a quote from worthless pontificator Tim McCarver, who believed that Derek Jeter should have been MVP. Why, you ask? WARP3? VORP? WPA? EqA? Probably EqA. That's McCarver's like go-to stat. I can't quite remember...well, let me just re-read the article and refresh my memory as to why Jeter should be MVP.

"Derek Jeter is different from all the other power guys," said the Fox broadcaster [sic] Tim McCarver..."It's not like he doesn't do anything from a numbers standpoint; he does a lot of things. But he's different, and you have to consider him differently. If Phil Rizzuto can win the MVP in 1950, Derek Jeter can be a candidate 56 years later."

Now, if any of you loyal readers out there ever question again why we at FJM despise Derek Jeter, or Tim McCarver, please just read that quote.

Derek Jeter is different. You have to think of him differently.


Now. It's possible that what McCarver is saying here is:

"Derek Jeter is different from the power guys. You have to take his position into account. You have to realize that the numbers he puts up as a SS are perhaps more valuable than the numbers Justin Morneau puts up as a 1B. Therefore, let's use things like VORP and WARP and stuff to determine exactly how valuable this guy is to his team."

I don't think that's what he is saying, though. I think he is talking about intangibles, here.

Perhaps that is a leap for me to make, here, in Argentina. But look again at that qualifier: "It's not like he doesn't do anything from a numbers standpoint; he does a lot of things." He brings up how Jeter has good numbers, which leads me to surmise that when he talks about how Jeter is "different," he is not actually talking about numbers at all, or about comparitive numbers among players at different positions. Plus, I have heard McCarver talk about Derek Jeter so often, and so miserably faux-poetically, that I'd be willing to bet 10,000 pesos (about $3500 US, give or take) that McC is saying that in a metaphysical, poetic, intangible way, we have to think of Derek Jeter differently.

And to that extrapolated exhortation from McCarver I say: no, sir. No we do not. We do not have to think of him differently. We have to think of him exactly the same as we think of any baseball player. We have to consider his position, yes. But when it comes to evaluating his contributions to his baseball team, we absolutely do not have to think of him "differently".

He does not possess superhuman powers. He is not physically handicapped. He is not a warrior-poet. He is not blessing us with his very presence. He is not a wizard. He is a baseball player.

He should have been the MVP because of how good he is at baseball. Not because of his calm eyes (a phrase McCarver, I believe, invented) or his intangibles or his steely gaze or his charisma or his elegant gait or his composure or the fact that he's currently schtupping Jessica Biel.

The thing that really bugs me is, McCarver is right about the Rizzuto-in-1950 comparison, but not the way he thinks he's right. Rizz had this line:

Phil Rizzuto, 1950:

122 OPS+
7 HR
112 RC
.296 EQA

And there were certainly bigger power guys, like Larry Doby and Vern Stephens and stuff. (Teddy W. would assuredly have won the award if he hadn't played in only 89 games due to Korea -- he hit 28 bombs and had a .338 EqA in those 89 games. Also, did you know he had a farking .419 EqA in 1941? I mean, holy shit.) But, Rizzy had a 12.3 WARP3 because he played SS. Much the way Calm Eyes McGee had a 12.1 this year. Although, to be fair, DJ is a way better offensive player than Rizzy ever was.

I might have actually given the 1950 award to Yogi Berra, who had a 10.5 WARP3 and a .303 EqA, going .322/.383/.533 with 28 HR. But really, I would have given it to him because in 597 AB he struck out TWELVE TIMES. Look it up. That is batshit insane, my friends. But I digress.

The point is, Tim McCarver is a dumb dummy. And he is right about Rizzuto/Jeter for exactly the opposite reason that he is arguing. And no one should ever think of Derek Jeter, or anyone else, "differently" when evaluating him/them.

And if McCarver says tomorrow that all he was talking about was VORP and WARP and RC and FRAA and EqA, I will take this all back. And I will eat my sombrero.

I am in Argentina.

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posted by Anonymous  # 5:38 PM
A Spanish language grammar correction from beloved reader Pandrew.

Hey Sr. Tremendous.

The word "noche" in Spanish is feminine and is accompanied by a female article: la noche triste, for example. Thus, the greeting is "Buenas Noches," as both adjective and noun must agree on a gender.

Qué tienes buena suerte en Buenos Aires.

Let me just say that I am proud to be a poster on a blog that gets grammar corrections in two languages.
And an amendment to the amendment from John:

A little correction on beloved reader Pandrew's Spanish:

One would say "Que tengas buena suerte en Argentina."

1. there is no accent over the e on Que because it is not a question marker.

2. When you use que to wish someone well, the verb it precedes should take on a subjunctive ending (further explanation would be long and boring). Anyway, there you go.

I love this blog.
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Thursday, November 16, 2006


The Big "Huh?"

That's my attempt at a clever title for a bad article written about Frank Thomas. What do you guys think? Honestly. You can tell me honestly. I want to learn.

Anyway, here's the article. It was sent to us by our loyal reader James, and it features the musings of rapidly-becoming-my-new-favorite-sportswriter Richard Griffin, about the Blue Jays rumored signing of Frank Thomas. Let's take a look-see.

Not wishing anything bad on an aging ballplayer who penned the best comeback story of the year, but the best thing that could happen for Jay fans in the next week would be if Frank Thomas failed his physical.

Huh. Tell me why, there, Dick.

The anticipation of poor health is only wished upon the two-time former AL MVP if the reports emanating from the general managers meetings in Florida are true, that Toronto is on the verge of signing the 38-year-old slugger for a mega-contract of three years. Bad move.

Yeah, I figured you would only want the guy to fail his physical if he were about to sign with the Jays. Otherwise, if you're just randomly hoping that guys fail their physicals, you're just a weird asshole.

For an organization that prides itself on thinking outside the box, in looking for key players in the discount bin of discarded, or lightly regarded talent, the Jays, by pursuing Thomas, are showing very little in the way of middle-market imagination.

So...they can only sign guys who are lightly regarded or something? If a guy who fills a need for the Jays (DH) and can be signed for short years becomes available through free agency, they shouldn't look at him unless he fulfills the requirement of being "discarded talent?" Why?

Dropping a plodding slugger into the heart of the order only serves to make this team more one-dimensional than ever.
The Jays should have seen the folly of that way of thinking in the second half, when their prized acquisition, third baseman Troy Glaus, slumped due to nagging injuries and, as much as he should be admired for playing through pain, dragged down an offence that went through the first half of the year as the AL leader in batting average and near the top in run production.

Well, they still finished second in the AL in team OPS and fourth in OBP. And Glaus still struggled to the tune of (in 153 games) 38 HR, a .293 EqA and a 7.4 WARP3. Which was the exact same WARP3 as Alex Rodriguez. Who, despite what you might have heard, is actualy very very good at baseball.

All of the greatest Jays teams have combined extra-base power and batting average with the ability to steal a base and go aggressively from first to third and from second to home on a hit.

Richard Griffin's Recipe for Success:

Look to the past for how to build towards the future.
Disregard how much the game has changed in 15 years.
Sign Kelly Gruber.
Sign Manny Lee at SS.
Ignore cold hard facts, like that the "Great" Blue Jays teams of the past also had phenomenal starting pitching and bullpens.
Ignore certain other cold hard facts about the hitting on those teams, like that the DH on the 1992 World Champion Blue Jays was 40 year-old Dave Winfield, who hit 28 HR for that team.
Sign Pat Tabler.
Practice writing every day!
Love your parents.
Be Prepared

The World Series years in the early `90s and the playoff seasons through the mid- to late-80s always included smart, aggressive base running. For every John Olerud there was a Devon White.

Devon White had a .303 OBP in 1992. If he was smartly and aggressively running the bases, he wasn't doing it that often. (Amazingly, he had a 7.5 WARP3, which shows you what a phenomenal defensive player he was.)

Now along comes the broken-down Thomas to take whatever managerial skills John Gibbons ever showed out of his hands. The Jays skipper is an NL guy at heart. He has always annoyed his GM, J.P. Ricciardi, by insisting on bunting runners into scoring position in late innings. After watching Thomas in the playoffs against the Tigers, there is nobody in baseball who runs the bases with less aggressiveness and speed. It's not his fault, due to an assortment of injuries, but the fact is Thomas makes Bengie Molina seem like Donovan Bailey.

"Hey, Ken?"
"Hey -- it's Minka Kelly, from 'Friday Night Lights.'"
"Hey, Minka. What's up?"
"I want to have sex with you."
"Something wrong, Ken?"
"No, I're super hot, and I love your show, can't run that fast."
"I'm sorry?"
"I don't know. You definitely have a lot of other skills. Like being hot, and having a perfect human form, and a great smile and flawless skin...and just to reiterate, you are crazy hot. But I really don't like to commit myself to a woman unless she can also run very quickly."
"...Okay. Well. That's fine."
"I'm sorry -- I just...I learned from the Toronto Star's Richard Griffin that even if you have certain skills in abundance, unless you can run the bases aggressively..."
"No, I get it. I guess."
"Cool. Thanks, for understanding, Minka."
" you have Junior's number?"

As for the rumoured cost of acquiring Thomas, it would be in the area of $10 million (U.S.) for three years, or two plus an option, taking the Jays though 2009. If Ricciardi thought that Carlos Delgado's contract was an untradeable albatross, he ain't seen nuthin' yet.

We're talking about a 2-year deal. Maybe 3. They will not have to trade Thomas. (Also, after Delgado signed his current deal, he was traded to the Mets. Neither here nor there, I guess.)

[Thomas] has a longer history of clubhouse divisiveness than he has of leadership — the one year in Oakland. Is he the kind of core, character player that the Jays claim to want to place under contract? No.

He is the kind of core, character player who put up a .316 EqA and 39 HR in a large baseball park last year. He also seemed to get along with his teammates just fine.

The Jays would have been better off going after a healthier right-handed hitter with extra-base power who could also play the corner infield spots and has a sense of baserunning that makes up for a lack of pure speed.

Someone like, hmm, Shea Hillenbrand.

This is one of the craziest things I have ever read. Honestly. I say that a lot, but I really believe this sets a new standard.

Frank Thomas has a history of clubhouse divisiveness.
He is not the kind of core, character plaer the Jays should go after.
They should go after a healthier right-handed hitter with extra base power who can play corner infield spots and a "sense of baserunning" that can make up for lack of speed.
They should get Shea Hillenbrand.

Shea Hillenbrand was dumped off the Blue Jays last year, if you all remember, for being one of the all-time assholes. He bitched and whined that no one congratulated him on adopting a child. He got into a fistfight with his manager. He is a famous -- FAMOUS -- malcontent.


A malcontent who, in 80 games for the Blue Jays, before being let go because he is such a colossal twerp, had a -1 FRAR. (He only played 36 games in the field.) He had a 1.2 WARP and a .262 EqA. In 139 games last year, with the Jays and Giants, he walked 21 times.

At least he has an excellent baserunning acumen, to the tune of 16 SB and 9 CS in 868 career games. (Thomas has 32 and 23, if you're interested.)

He also made $5.8 million last year, Shea did, while being (I can't emphasize this enough) such a horrendous, unrelenting pain in the ass that the Blue Jays gave him his unconditional release.

Congratulations, Richard Griffin. You have written what I believe is the dumbest article of the year.

(Editor's note: I take it back. This is the dumbest article of the year.)

Labels: , ,

posted by Anonymous  # 10:58 AM
A couple of people have already written in to correct me: Hillenbrand was technically designated for assignement, not released. They also have pointed out that the Clubhouse Panacea Griffin wants for the Jays is the same guy who called Red Sox GM Theo Epstein a "fag." But he has a lot of smarts on the basepaths!...?...!
In the interests of fairness, I cut/copy/paste this theory from reader Richard:

I'm not a regular reader of Richard Griffin...I'm betting you aren't either. Is it possible that he's making a joke? For all we know...he lambasted Hillenbrand all season for being a douche in the clubhouse, and was making a joke to his regular readers like, "Yeah, we'll bring him back because he worked so well, WINK!" If he had given a bunch of reasons after mentioning him, I could see your angle, but because he just sort of drops the name off at the end of the article and doesn't say anything, well, I'm just saying it's possible he was attempting a funny.

I hope not. And I don' think so. But again, in the interest of farness, there's a possible explanation.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Grammatical Hat Trick!

A rather large hattip to our dear friend Dan, who points out that in accepting the National League Cy Young award, Brandon Webb manages to invoke the first, second, and third persons in the span of three short sentences.

"It was pretty big emotions. We were very excited for it. It's with you forever."

So, yeah. That's all we got right now.

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posted by dak  # 1:56 PM
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Saturday, November 11, 2006


More Plaschke

See Junior's post below...

The "argument" Plaschke makes is that the Dodgers should be psyched that J.D. Drew triggered an option in his contact -- to leave the team and become a free agent -- because he was bad news and had a bad attitude and no one remembers his RsBI. So, good riddance.

Fine, whatever, you're entitled to your opinion, Bill. But then towards the end, as Junior notes, he writes this:

In the end, there's no reason for anger by anyone. Drew was just exercising his rights. Boras is just doing his job. The Dodgers eventually will get what they want. None of this was illegal or unethical.

If you want to be upset, be upset at former general manager Paul DePodesta for giving Drew such a misguided quit clause in the first place.

Junior correctly notes how insane it is that he blames this on DeP. But it goes beyond that, I think. If Plaschke feels this way about Drew, shouldn't he be happy that DePo gave him the out clause? Why would you be upset about this, Billy? Your irrational hatred of Paul "The Computer" DePodesta is so overwhelming, you are now taking shots at DePo even when DePo did something that you are arguing helps the Dodgers.

How do you not see that contradiction, Bill?



He hung up on me. Oh well. I'm sure he'll read this post. He's a big fan of ours.


posted by Anonymous  # 4:58 PM
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Friday, November 10, 2006


Hi Everybody!

We haven't posted in a while, but there's a good reason. Dak, Junior, Murbles, Chester and I all checked into the Scott Hatteberg Wing of the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs for a week of intense Eckstein Detoxification. Twice-daily therapy sessions, combined with three square helpings of site-surfing, and we're as good as new. We barely even remember how tall Eckstein is, much less how much he weighs. And the words "small man/big heart" no longer cause us to have grand mal seizures. They are now petit mal seizures. Progress.

There is not a lot of terrible sportswriting going on right now, that I can find, at least. I would like to note that the anti-ARod sentiment has gotten so bad that even award-givers have drunk the Kool Aid. For the record:

2006 Silver Slugger Award-Winner Joe Crede:

28 BB
30 HR
.278 EqA

ARod, Who Can't Hit in the Clutch and Is a Head-Case:

90 BB
35 HR
.317 EqA

Congratulations, Hillerich & Bradsby Co. You are now every bit as stupid as everyone else!

I promise we'll post more soon. Maybe.


posted by Anonymous  # 6:23 PM
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