Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Befuddling Baker's Dozen

I was in a fantasy baseball draft Yesterday afternoon and there were a lot of things I found completely baffling about the standard player rankings that are provided to help you pick your team. Most notably, Matt Kemp is considered the 33rd best non-pitcher (16th best outfielder) in baseball. This is only taking batting average, runs, home runs, RBI and steals into account. The guy is a "power hitting" outfielder who hit 18 home runs and had 76 RBI last year. He stole 35 bases, and I can only assume that is why his rating jumped, because other than that, his numbers are decent...for a second baseman. Of course I was gone for part of the draft and my team auto-selected the bum. I offered him in a trade the moment the draft ended, so we'll see how that goes.

But Kemp's high ranking is one of many things in sports that have utterly baffled me of late. For instance, if a 2-seed beats a 7-seed, do you say that the "higher" seed won or the "lower" seed? This is like how the expressions, "sub-par performance," or "above par" mean exactly the opposite of their meanings in golf, which is where they were borrowed from. Or how about when there is a "jump ball" called in college basketball, there is no subsequent jump ball. They just take it out of bounds. Not to mention the Big Ten having eleven schools, as I mentioned last week.

Andruw Jones hit 3 home runs and batted .158 in a 2008 season shortened by injuries and Joe Torre having both mercy and good sense. So now he is on the Rangers and has been playing Spring Training games in their minor league system. He could have opted for free agency last week but instead decided to stay with the Rangers in the hopes of making their Major League squad as a bench player or part-time DH. Perhaps it got lost in translation, but someone should have told Andruw that the "H" there stands for "hitter" and his chances of getting that job is around 16%*. Incidentally, with regard to Jones making the team, the Rangers basically told him to not hold his breath. Is it more embarrassing that the Netherlands passed on Jones or the last place Rangers?

*-like his batting average

In other baffling news, reports are floating around that the Giants have made offers to trade for Braylon Edwards, who had more dropped passes than Terrell Owens last year. They make offers for this guy and not Anquan Boldin or T.J. Houshmandzadeh?

Two powerhouse European soccer teams are making a 6-city U.S. tour coming up. U2 will likely outsell these games 4-1 in each of those six cities. Are they still trying to tell us that soccer is up-and-coming? I know the stat that more kids in America are playing soccer than any other sport, but that has been the case for some time now...what impact has it had on the American sports scene? Did you know the MLS is expanding? Do people go to these games? They get less national interest than the World Baseball Classic, which no one cares about because the U.S. team is fielded mostly by the 3rd or 4th best Americans at many positions, all of whom are out of shape because it is Spring Training.

I don't know why this one surprised me, but Terrell Owens was a no-show at the Bills voluntary training camp opening Monday. It is only voluntary so it isn't a big deal, but shouldn't he be trying to fix the image that he is an asshole? Or is it too far-gone? Last week his new coach Dick Jauron said, "I hope that he's here. He knows how important it is for us, particularly in his first year with us." T.O. allegedly replied, "Who's Dick Jauron?"**

**-I may or may not have made this quotation up.

The NFL released some scheduling information for this upcoming season. The Raiders were given prominent games on the opening Monday Night game and also as a Thanksgiving game. How does it make advertising-dollar sense to give a team that bad that kind of stage? Are there that many Raiders fans? Or is it that a lot of people will watch to see the Raiders lose? Because if multiple people are watching the same TV, that doesn't help ratings. And being that each individual Raider fan doesn't have his own TV in his own personal cell, that means they will all watch the same set in the common area, so that is bad for ratings. And they also don't count stolen TVs piled up in the garage either.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams said last week that "A building never won a game in a tourney." I get the point he was trying to make: despite the expected home-court advantage that fans would give Carolina in Greensboro for the NCAA's 1st and 2nd rounds, the players still needed to go out and make shots and make stops and win the game. But really? The building never won a game. I know it is kinda weak to defeat an argument with one, extraordinary example, but does the Miracle on Ice ring a bell? Do you think if that game had been played in Moscow, or London, or Tokyo, or at Amundsen-Scott, the results wouldn't have been the same?

There is a new professional football league called the United Football League that will start next year with four teams. The league's site says that they chose their franchise homes so that they could cater to large markets that do not currently have representation in the NFL. So they picked San Francisco, New York and Orlando because those areas only have two NFL teams each.

And the final thing that completely baffles me is how the hell they decided to make a Donnie Darko sequel. When a story has a truly perfect ending, what kind of moron decides to tell what happened seven years later? What a cop-out of creativity. Write a new story for God's sake! And really, his little sister starts getting apocalyptic visions (including Frank the Bunny, of course) while stopped in a spooky small town during a wacky, cross-country road trip with...wait for it...Elizabeth Berkeley. How do you smear the legacy of one of the most beloved, well performed, intricately crafted movies of all time? Rub Jessie Spano all over it. Coming to a theater near you soon (and then a Blockbuster very, very shortly after that).

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