Monday, September 30, 2013

Baseball Playoffs Are The Worst And Also The Best

Tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers are playing a one-game tiebreaker to determine who gets to play a one-game playoff to determine who gets to actually be in the postseason. This is dumb. In fact, it is undeniably really dumb. These teams just played 162 games, or, you know, 10x the amount of a football season, only to come out with equal records. They both did it in similar ways, even, blowing a huge early-September cushion over the now red-hot Indians and then playing great baseball the last two weeks to get back to where we are now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's In A Name?

As the proud owner of a t-shirt boasting “the sports team from my area is superior to the sports team from your area,” I freely admit that my sports allegiances are tenuous and provincial. My fandom is geographical (and I guess loosely ancestral). I’m a Brewers, Packers and Bucks fan - in that order - simply because I grew up in Milwaukee and those are my parents’ preferred teams. Since Milwaukee doesn’t have an NHL team, neither do I, beyond a soft spot for the Bruins (I live in Boston) and the Blues (I have family in St. Louis and have attended a few games there). If someone asks me to say something about myself, my Brewers fandom and attendant sadness will come to the fore pretty quickly. 

My teams are a function of my hometown, but I don’t call myself a Milwaukee fan. If forced to defend the city to snobby East Coast types I will vehemently declare its virtues - Beer! Summerfest! Creepy Zombie Fonz Statue! Still More Beer! - but still I call myself a Brewers fan. That’s where the identity lies, with the team, and specifically the team name. And so, clinging to a team name like a pacifier, I empathize with Washington Redskins fans who are struggling on the wrong side of history in sports’ cause du jour.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baseball's Playoffs are the Worst

I'm writing this post now, a fortnight before any actual heartbreak occurs, to remind myself and all the other baseball fans that I know that the baseball playoffs are basically a glorified eight-way coin flip. There is no rhyme or reason for basically anything that happens. A booted double-play ball and a missed call can wipe out a 94-win team in two innings. A random starter can catch fire or you can have David Eckstein on your team. The point is, the sport is fundamentally flawed in that its playoffs have almost zero relationship to the regular season.

Tim Salmon, Troy Glaus, and Garret Anderson were the best hitters
on a World Series-winning team

Man v. Food: An Analysis

Man v. Food was a great show. It lasted three seasons from December, 2008 to October, 2010 on the Travel Channel, and its format was gold. Charismatic host Adam Richman, a Yale-trained actor and food enthusiast who has "held nearly every job in the restaurant biz," visited a city in each episode and sampled some outrageously decadent cuisine. It was Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives for the first 15 minutes of each episode, but then it became something very, very special. Adam could eat, baby. He could eat.

Adam would visit locations that had outrageous eating challenges, and attempt to complete them on national television. It was an oddly compelling spectacle. Challenges could involve quantity (can you eat 5 pounds of pizza?) or spicy stuff (can you consume 12 wings that you have to sign a waiver to eat?). Adam would win some and lose some, but ultimately, he won 37 out of 59 challenges, for a success rate of about 63%. He also became visibly heavier as the show went on, only adding to its absolutely compelling nature (apparently, Adam has actually lost 60 pounds since Man v. Food ended).

With all due respect to the spicy challenges, it's the quantity challenges that were truly impressive. It has been my goal for a long time, as a big fan of the show, to figure out just how impressive each quantity challenge was. So I researched each challenge and put together a somewhat loose methodology to determine which challenges were most impressive, and which defeats were most disappointing.

The factors I used to determine the impressiveness of each challenge included the following:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2013 NFL Over/Unders

Blue-da blue blue-da BLUE! Blue-da blue blue-da BLUUUUE! Blue-da blue blue-da BLUE BLUE-DA BLUE-DA! Blue-da BLUE blue-da BLUE blue-da BLUE BLUE-DAAAAA!

The NFL season is starting shortly, and as we did last year, we are doing the over-unders for each NFL team. We'll also be making our playoff and Super Bowl picks, so come February, we can all look like idiots. Sound good?

Firstly, let's recap how we did last year with our picks.

For regular season picks, last year Jon and Sean both got 18 over/under predictions right, or about 56%. Big Brown Bear got a whopping 13 right, or 41%. What's better, Steve or a coin?

For the playoffs, Jon nailed 7 out of 12 playoff teams, picked a Steelers-Packers Super Bowl with the Packers winning. Sean correctly guessed 7 playoff teams as well, predicted a Packers-Patriots Super Bowl with the Packers winning. BB SIMILARLY got 7 playoff teams correct and predicted a 49ers-Patriots Super Bowl with the Niners winning. Since Steve-o predicted a Super Bowl team, he wins the playoff predictions. And as everyone knows, the playoffs are what really matter.