Sunday, August 31, 2014

Baseball's Dumbest Rule

Just a friendly reminder that starting tomorrow, September 1, baseball rosters will expand from 25 to 40 players. Why would the rules about how many people you can have change for the last 20% of the season? It's unclear. In theory, the fact that minor league seasons typically end around September gives teams an opportunity to keep their best minor leaguers fresh until the big league season ends. That's cute and all and some shitty teams certainly take advantage of the opportunity to see what guys can do. Mike Trout certainly benefited from a month of at bats in 2011 before he became Mike Trout in 2012.

However, you don't just fucking change the rules for the last month when playoff spots are being finalized. Smart teams will use the additional 15 players (that's almost an entire other team!!!!!) to get tons of little advantages. Teams can bring up the all glove double A player and use him only in the field without worrying about running out of players. Speedy pinch runners can steal a crucial base winning just one more game for their team. Imagine if football teams could use 80 players on gamedays in December instead of 46. You'd never risk a player like Rob Gronkowski getting hurt on an extra point, you'd use the 7th string tight end. Don't worry though, this rule goes away in the playoffs, where the you know normal fucking 25 players are required. Also, weirdly, players who start with a team after September 1 cannot play on the postseason roster. So these callups will only screw up things in the playoffs before they are ineligible for the playoffs and the rosters go back to 25.

This is baseball's dumbest rule and now that old-man farter Bud Selig is going, new commissioner Rob Manfred (jesus that's a fake sounding awful name) needs to fix the roster size.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rules for ReTWOling

Two years ago, the Red Sox were among the worst teams in baseball. They traded away all their awful contracts in August of that year. Then they were the best team in baseball. And now, after all the injuries and disappointments that could have happened this year are now happening (along with the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury), the Red Sox are back to being bad and trading everybody. They're looking to next year again, for the second time in three years.*

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Yankees, Stephen Drew, and Shortstopping in Jeter's America

In the Red Sox trade deadline bonanza that ultimately saw four of last year's World Series-winning starters get traded (all in at least arguably good deals, especially Lackey), a lesser trade occurred, the first between the Yankees and Red Sox since 1997. The struggling Stephen Drew was dealt for the declining yet cheap Kelly Johnson. Stephen Oris Drew, he of .176/.255/.328 slash line in 39 games this year with the Red Sox, was headed to New York. With the Yankees' recent acquisitions of Chase Headley to play third and the suddenly overpaid Martin Prado to play whatever position they needed (including 2nd base), it seemed as though Stephen Drew would fit nicely on the Yankees' bench. However, what the Yankees are actually doing with Stephen Drew is pretty crazy when you think about it for more than two seconds: he's their everyday second baseman.

To clarify, this is not crazy because Stephen Drew is having a terrible year at the plate and should not be an everyday player. Drew missed spring training and the beginning of the season while waiting for a contract offer, and his struggles against players in midseason form aren't overly surprising. He's likely to bounce back, and has always been a productive player at the plate, and also in the field.

And that second part is what makes the Yankees' new arrangement crazy. Stephen Drew has never played another position besides shortstop in his Major League career. Another player on the Yankees can also make that claim, and he happens to be in his retirement tour with the Yankees struggling to stay in the playoff race. That other guy, #2, also happens to be one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Very Meaningful and Correct List of Seinfeld Characters

A few of weeks ago, Rolling Stone came out with a list of the 100 greatest characters in Seinfeld history. Seinfeld is probably my favorite show ever (either that or Chappelle's Show basically), and I have to say, the list was downright turrible. Characters left off, the order was all effed up, and very weak reasons for placing characters where they were. Also, in going through a straight list of 100 characters, it's tough to figure out if someone is really 94th or 86th. I'm here to make things right.

Here is my list of the greatest Seinfeld characters ever. It will be broken up, however, in a meaningful way: by number of appearances. Comparing the Soup Nazi to Newman to Elaine is a very difficult task. Is this like WAR, where just the sheer number of games played counts? Or is it like OPS+, where the effectiveness per game is the real determining factor? Is it somewhere in between? I'm going to avoid those issues by grouping characters by number of appearances. Within their groups, they're going to be based essentially on how funny they are, and how classic they are. Here we go. The real list.

Ruthie Cohen

1. Ruthie Cohen: The cashier at Monk's gets her own category. She has lines in, I believe, 1 episode, but is seen in 101 total episodes. She doesn't fit into the category of characters with tons of appearances, but is worth noting just sort of for appearing in so many. Way to go, Ruthie.

Unseen and/or Imaginary Characters (including pseudonyms)

Ray Rice's Apology: You Did More Than Let People Down

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens running back, beat his wife unconscious and was suspended by the NFL for two games. Nothing more needs to be said about the complete failure and embarrassment of the NFL in its lenient actions toward this situation. Anyone who sees the length of this suspension as just is actually, objectively wrong.

Ray Rice attempted to apologize for his actions -- which became known almost six months ago -- yesterday at a press conference. It is worth watching the entire statement, as this is an issue that plagues the NFL and the United States of America, and even those perpetrators who seem contrite (and Rice, I think, does) completely miss the point.