JP In the House!

23 07 2007

Greetings, faithful With Malice Fan Legion. I’m JP, you may remember me from such blogs as Pyle of List and Epic Carnival. I’m here today to help traverse the cold depression of Monday without the beloved proprietor and creator of this site.

Don’t think of me as a replacement, more like a blog-sitter. Don’t break anything or get hurt and he’ll never know the wiser.

With the Simpsons movie coming out this week, I can’t get those little yellow buggers out of my head. Apparently, ESPN couldn’t either. Using John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Ratings as a model, he rated the Simpsons on their Comedic Efficiency. Leave it to ESPN to try and cash in on something “Now” in an attempt to further integrate themselves into every aspect of American culture . Better than another report on Ref-Gate, I guess.

For some reason, they decided to send his article to me first before posting it on ESPN.com. I thought it was my duty to post it here.

John Hollinger

Hello, I’m John Hollinger. You may remember me from such ESPN articles as Player Efficiency Ratings and… well, that’s about it. Since my mission in life is to break everything down into a ratings system that defies common sense and ignores general knowledge, I’m going to get started with the Comedic Efficiency Ratings (CER) for “The Simpsons”. You see, the suits at Bristol want me to appeal more to the 18-30 demographic. Since I can’t be black and work for Page 2 (believe me, they tried), they thought referencing aging pop culture main-stays in my ratings would be the way to go. Since I’d never actually seen an episode of the show because I don’t own a TV (all I need to analyze the NBA are the box scores, thank you very much), it took me awhile to calculate the ratings. Here they are:

Read the rest of this entry »

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NBA Players… when arrogance rules supreme (part 2)

12 07 2007

Time for a rant (second part of a 2 part diatribe, part 1 found here)…

Waaah waaah waahAs the NBA off-season unfolds, I have become more & more dismayed at the attitude that many players are displaying recently. In a recent opinion I posted on Kobe, I used the term ‘divattitude’ as a pun on ‘diva’ & ‘attitude’… well with the way this trade season is unfurling, it’s becoming quite a common state of mind. What happened to playing for the love of the game? Yeah, I know – how naive of me! Still… with these guys getting so much money, you’d think they would be happy to play, that they’d want to do something to earn their bucks.

No such luck.

We have perhaps the most storied franchise in NBA history being told by not one, not two, but THREE players – “I don’t wanna play there” (Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion, Jermaine O’Neal). We have stories floating around of Paul Pierce being close to demanding a trade… When did the mighty Green die and become the Vancouver Grizzlies? Yes, I know that Danny Ainge has really ridden the franchise into the ground, but c’mon: players under contract stipulating where they’re going to play (as far as I know, only Kobe has a ‘no-trade’ clause)? I realise that they can threaten to walk (after their contract is over), but it really pisses me off to see them do that… to unfairly affect trade destinations.

We have the best player in the League – Kobe – performing almost weekly backflips on his “I-wanna-be-traded” scenario. For those who can’t keep up, in a definite softening-of-stance, Kobe told the press the other day that “We’ll just have to see where it goes.”(as far as still demanding a trade). Still… given we’re talking Mr Bryant, that could be very literally yesterday’s news by tomorrow.

Two years ago, Zach Randolph declared “I don’t think my role of playing 13 or 15 minutes a game is acceptable. I deserve to play 25-plus minutes, but if they want me to play 12 minutes, then they can just put me on the inactive list. I mean, those are rookie minutes.” Yup. Have fun with your New York Minute Zach… especially while you get to watch Portland develop into one of the League’s best teams over the next few years.

To get rid of him, Portland took on one of the great lemon contracts of our time – Stevie “Franchise” Francis (would that be a McDonald’s franchise Steve?). And it’s testament to how well-loved he is that he’s not even required to show up. They paid him $30 million to not show. Scary that New York are ecstatic to get Randolph, given it means Francis is gone. I don’t know who this situation is a bigger indictment of: Francis or Randolph.

We have Marcus Camby – just prior to the NBA Dress-code being introduced declaring it would never work – “I don’t see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes.” Err… hello Mr Sprewell.

The Yi Jianlian saga continues to unfurl, with SI.com reporting that Milwaukee’s Larry Harris stating:

“We’re not trading him,” Harris told SI.com. “We like him and we think this is a great opportunity for him. He’ll get a chance to play a lot of minutes right away for a good team. What more could [he] want?”

What a mess this is. Milwaukee pick Yi with the 6th pick in the draft, and his ‘people’ tell Yi… Bucks be damned.them that they don’t want to play in Milwaukee, they want to play in a town a) that’s a bigger market, & b)where there’s a larger asian population. Then they (Yi’s management team) enter into ‘trade discussions’ with other teams… regardless of the Milwaukee Bucks. Yi’s Chinese agent Zhao Gang said in the China Daily that he was already in contact with teams who were showing an interest in Yi. Err… huh? Isn’t that supposed to be the role of the management of the Bucks??? And Yi is refusing to talk about any of it…

The thing I just don’t get, is that very few players seem grateful… now we even have guys entering straight from draft, complete with what used to be a 5-year-veteran sense of entitlement. Yi’s refusal to play in Milwaukee disgusts me. Zach Randolph – the Blazers are much better for having traded him. Francis? I hope he falls the way of Latrell Sprewell. Even despite being a Laker fan, Kobe makes my head spin… or maybe more truthfully because I’m a Laker fan. His puerile, petulant posings drive me to the point of nausea. The ‘you-know-if-you-send-me-there-I’ll-walk’ postulations of Marion, KG & Jermaine really disappoint me. I thought all three were better than that.Yay Fish! It’s almost enough to make me like the Spurs, if they weren’t so like porridge… filling, but oh-so-bland.

Give me players who play with the unabashed joy of the game… I’m sick of on-court-divas.

Thank god for Derek Fisher.

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All-star games… for the love of the game?

8 07 2007

National Lampoon’s Hawaiian Vacation!

So the MLB All-Star game is less than a week away, and whilst the game has more relevance than the opposing games that the other major sports have, should it really have a bearing on the regular season? Other pro-sports… the Pro-bowl’s a joke – we should just give the game it’s just desserts & call it “National Lampoon’s Hawaiian Vacation”.nba-all-star-weekend.jpg The NBA All-Star weekend has lost all relevance to the game it represents. When your game’s biggest headline is from a rival sport’s miscreant ‘making it rain’, and the event is seen as one of the premier parties of the year (rather than sporting event), you’ve screwed it up pretty royally. And the NHL… the regular season’s lost relevance to John Q Public, so the All-Star game isn’t even a blip on the radar.

So back to MLB… the winning league in MLB’s All-Star game get’s the home field advantage for the World Series… so you’d better believe that players from the top teams who make this game are going to bust a butt. But… is it the answer? Giving a single game that much weight, that it can decide the outcome of the Fall Classic… well, that’s a huge jump from the 2002 event when the game became so much of a joke that it had to be called before it even ended. Thing is, as has been said by many commentators on the game, with the voting in the hands of the fans, it’s never going to be a true representation of who’s an ‘All Star’. It really becomes a popularity contest.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, but should it decide home field advantage… I don’t think so. Home field advantage should go to the team playing that has the highest win/loss ratio. Just as it does in the NBA. But how would that effect the MLB All Star game? Hugely. But I’m not sure that it matters. The All Star game should be a celebration of the sport. It should be played for the joy of competing, for the athletic bliss of competing at the highest level. I know – pipe dreams. But it used to be like that… not just in baseball, but all pro-sports. Being an ‘All Star’ used to have meaning… now more often than not, players are willing to shirk duty they have to their fans for little or no reason at all. And the games have suffered as a result.

Who’s to blame? A little bit of everyone. The simple fact is that sport’s gotten way too big on many different levels. Players earn too much, and the real or feigned fear of an injury is something that is used altogether too much these days. What happened to playing for the love of playing? Sure, it’s there… but only in players with less than 3 years of experience. Beyond that, they all seem tired & jaded. All a variation of the same theme… every man a Rod Tidwell clone shouting “Show me the money!” Barry Bonds hit in the Home Run Derby? Forget about it… not going to happen. So what if it’s going to be in the park of the only fans in the country that will cheer him actually being there?

We can’t look to the governing bodies of sports. There’s too much pressure on them to make the All-Star game ‘relevant’. That almighty fickle attention span of the sports-fan needs to be captured so as to maximize earning potential. Gotta satisfy ESPN, or whichever media outlet is pushing this particular game.

All Star game…Fans expect too much. Nowadays, with so much media readily available at our fingertips, we need the game to have meaning. It’s not enough if it’s simply ‘a game’. Fans have too many other options… TV… cable TV… the internet… We the fan now have the attention span of a 2 year old – something’s gotta happen every 5 minutes, and it’s gotta have meaning. We’re beyond the age of ‘I want my MTV’, and into ‘I want my ESPN’… hell, with the age of YouTube et al upon us, maybe it’s even beyond that now.

Baseball and basketball, the ‘USA vs [insert-other-nation]’ games at meaningful international events have, in a lot of ways, replaced the All Star games. The Olympics, World Championships (for basketball), and the World Baseball Classic all are played with the attitude they makes it evident that they matter.

Ultimately tho’, only the fans can alter the way we (the fans) perceive the games. I don’t believe that All Star games should have an impact on the regular season… but neither do I want them to be merely an excuse for a party, the game itself a joke. I want it to be a celebration of the sport itself… I want players to play the game for the love of it, and as a ‘returning something to the fans’… I know it’s never going to happen… but I can dream, can’t I?

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Blog-sifting… the week that was

6 07 2007

Baseball girls…Keep it up folks, some excellent stuff being written

  1. Signal To Noise lets us know about Roger Goodell’s latest conquest
  2. Larry Brown Sports thinks Barry should be in the HR Derby
  3. An excellent interview with BallHype’s Jason Gurney from Bugs & Cranks…
  4. We Rite Good gives us both patriotic moments in sport, and the least patriotic moments in sport!
  5. 100% Injury Rate is unimpressed with ESPN
  6. Deuce of Davenport lets us know what Marcus Fizer’s up to
  7. Deadspin take us up close & personal to the Hot Dog Eating Championships

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