Your Thoughts Exactly: May 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Poor Celtics

So the Celtics aren't going to get Durant or Oden. Boo-hoo. While I feel bad for Simmons because he may off himself, we've got to realize that 1) the Celtics had less than 50 percent chance of getting one of the two and 2) it's still not a bad time to be a Boston sports fan. The Pats and Red Sox are two of the better run organizations in sports. (The Pats being possibly the best.) Plus they've had some karma. We drafted the greatest QB of our generation with a sixth round pick. We signed David Ortiz off the scrap heap and he became a Boston legend. The Celtics are crappily run, and losing out on the lottery will turn people's attention to that. Perhaps, only if we get the organization moving in the right direction, from ownership on down, will we be able to have a fortunate break like getting an Oden. Would have been freaking sweet though.

Thursday, May 17, 2007



Thats two straight posts with bullshit in the title, in case you were wondering.

The Suns should have won last night, except they couldn't because when they needed to score in the 4th quarter, they had to run pick and rolls with Kurt Thomas instead of Amare or Diaw. This enabled Duncan to cheat of Thomas cutting off Nash's penetration. As usual, I defer to Simmons when describing the NBA; the Spurs have the edge on the Suns right now because 1) The NBA is retarded (suspensions etc.) and 2) Duncan is amazing. The Spurs are not a great team, they execute very well and put their players in positions where they can succeed. But there entire defensive scheme (pressuring the ball up top) is based on the fact that Duncan will save their ass if they get beat on dribble penetration. Which he did last time. Every freaking time.

Which is why the loss of Amare hurt so much. Amare is a young stud who actually has the ability to take it the rim with Duncan there and finish. Which is what he did twice in the last minute of game 4, to put the Suns on top. While everyone was focusing on Nash's passes, that was the real key to victory for the Suns. It's also why they still have a chance in Game 6.

On the suspension, it's made clear that David Stern has lost his ability to be an effective executive. Giving someone authoritarian control over a business enterprise works, until the power foes to said person's head and he/she starts making bad decisions that aren't questioned by outside sources because everyone is afraid of jeapordizing their own position. The first sign of this is when Stern lengthened first round series from 5 games to 7 in the middle of the season in 03 because the Lakers were in danger of getting a 5 seed and he wanted to ensure that they made it out of the first round. Changing a rule in the middle of the season? Who does that?

Of course Stern couldn't change this rule in the middle of the season because that would make him look incompetent. Which is more important than the integrity of the game of course.

Or not. I've written on the Smoking Section about the connection between basketball and hip-hop in the public eye, as two of the main avenues whereby young black males are famous and get exposure. What I wrote there, is that while elements of hip-hop exploit the "gangster" image, the NBA patronizes their players and fans. Everything done by the NBA in the last ten years has been aimed at taming this image, even if it's impossible, so that they can sell young black males to upper middle class white people.

What the NBA needs is an executive who can balance the positives of hip-hop culture, the style and expressiveness, with the corporate interests tied into the game, and market the product to youth. Jay-Z for NBA commissioner?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Feeding the Monster Bullshit

I read "Feeding the Monster," by Seth Mnookin, a former New Yorker writer who followed Red Sox management around for a few years (03-05ish) and wrote a tome on them.

While Mnookin does have some interesting insights on the Red Sox, this is one of the worst pieces of non-fiction I have read about the Sox. As a non-fiction writer, the goal should be to take a broad view, understanding that in profiling something as large as an organization, there are going to be different individual views as to how things happened. In something as that garners as much media coverage, opinionizing, and rumor-mongering as the Red Sox, this is definitely going to be the case.

Unfortunately, this "insider's" perspective reads as a PR piece put out by Red Sox brass. Mnookin, rewards ownership for the amount of access given to him by taking their line in every single major conflict. His lack of reporting skill is especially evident in his inability to get the player's side of the story. Granted, getting interviews with Manny Ramirez can be a challenge, but answering such a challenge is necessary if you are going to write about the man.

Mnookin consistently labels the players as "greedy," consistently pointing out the large salaries they make while referencing their complaints in order to make them look spoiled. No mention then, of the penny-pinching done by ownership, rather according to how Mnookin portrays it, the Red Sox are struggling to make money what with revenue sharing etc. (Mnookin places the caveat that revenues from NESN arent counted, total garbage because the Sox moved all their games to NESN after buying the network, cable packages then added NESN to extended basic and charged ALL New England consumers extra, whether they are Red Sox fans or not.) Who does he think he's fooling? The Sox have by far the most expensive tickets and fuck their fans over for money in a ton of ways. Don't look to me for pity.

Worse then this portrayal however is the misrepresentation of truth. Two examples come to mind.

The first is Mnookin calling out Dan Shaugnessy for glossing over the Red Sox racist history in his book "The Curse of the Bambino." The Shank is a total putz, and the city will be a better place when he retires, but I've got to back him on this one. I've read the book and his account of the Jackie Robinson tryout (with the famous "get these niggers off the field," from the owners box) the Willie Mays tryout, the racism of Pinky Higgins, and the de facto limit on minorities through the 80s are all covered in Dan's book. He even floats a theory that there is a twin curse of Ruth and Robinson, tying Boston's futility to their racist attitudes. Mnookin's statement is slanderous.

A second comes in backing the Red Sox decisions and buying the party line as truth. Mnookin claims that, in signing David Wells and Matt Clement over Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez, the Sox managed to get a better combination of pitchers for 8 million dollars less. Of course at the end of 2005, Pedro and Lowe had a combined VORP of 86 while Clement and Wells were at 50. Whoops.

The 2004 Red Sox were a great team both as the game of baseball and in terms of the confluence of personalities. Shame that out of such a team, no one has written a definitive profile. Skip Mnookin's for sure, Johnny Damon's bio will probably provide more level-headed insight

Sunday, May 13, 2007



Ok I was just about to write a quick update on the NBA playoffs, but while I was waiting for the Bulls-Pistons games to start, I noticed something horrendous.

On one of the ubiquitous, much-maligned “Our Country” Cougar Melloncamp Chevy commercials, they pan between shots of white males working on farms. In addition to the acknowledged racism of these adds, the next of which will feature a group of guys standing in white hoods, two yokels are listening to the radio while bailing hay. Over the radio we hear, “The war in Iraq is over. The Enemy has surrendered.”

Um What the fuck are you thinking GM? I assume this is reference to the first Iraq War, a reminder of a time when you could fight wars without land power or casualties. If it’s a reference to the current Iraq conflict, it’s a giant fuck you to the troops dying by the day. Even as a reference to 91, it seems horribly irresponsible. Utilizing nostalgia of American military dominance may play up to the demographic group you are targeting, but in case you hadn’t noticed, that group is shrinking fast. The majority of Americans are going to find this jingoism disturbing and flock to the Toyota and Honda dealers to buy better cars. Tying their economic success by hoping for a resurgence in “Buy American,” while reminding consumers of exactly why they are disappointed in their country sounds like the business model for a company that wants to break their own record for net loss in a quarter. Goodbye GM.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Baseball has been bery bery good to me

And it has. In the last three years I have seen my Red Sox finally break through to win the title and my fantasy baseball team win the inaugural Parade of Horribles championship. Can life be any better?

Yes, if I can somehow manage a way to have both happen in one season. 2007 looks like it could be that year.

First of all, the Red Sox have started hot. I mean super hot. The pitching looks excellent; two seasoned vets in Schilling/Wake, two young studs in Dice-K and Beckett have combined to lead us to the best ERA in the majors. The bullpen has also been solid, behind Papelbon and Okajima.

The offense looks like it will be at worst good, at best near the tops in the league although still not fucking with the 03 and 04 juggernauts. The Hall of Fame 3-4 has never been underappreciated from this corner and will ensure nothing less than above average. Greatness depends on the ability of Crisp, KY, Drew, and Lugo to live up to what the smartest front office in history envisioned of them. So far this year they are 1 for 4. It’s early.

Of course one of those 4 is not J.D. Drew, who was also supposed to play a vital role on B&B Enterprises (my fantasy team.) Currently his SLG stands at .368 making him one of four players on my team to have a slugging percentage within 50 points of their on base. Not good.

I still think I can win because there will be regression in terms of home runs for my team, which will lift me in the three categories I am trailing horribly in (runs, home runs, and slugging.) The question is, will current leader (and part-time contributor to YTE, David) experience a similar correction in pitching? Who can pull off the trade that puts them over the top?

In the words of Master Splinter: We shall see, Oroko Saki.

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