Monday, February 28, 2011

#1 seeds are good, right?

When playing college basketball and you are the number three team in the country, you usually are a #1 seed during March Madness, right?

Shazzam!
Boom.
Booya!

And the combo of all three… Shaboomya!

Shaboomya! world of college basketball. The Brigham Young Cougars are the number three team in the country in both the AP and Coaches polls. They are even ahead of the crown jewel of the ACC—Duke. I was shocked not to be slighted by the east coast writers in the polls, that I had to go out and find some bias from the east coast fans. Duke fans are not pleased by this.

“If they were to give BYU a 1 seed then I would love for Duke to be the 2 seed in that region. I thinks it's only a matter of time before that team gets exposed. Jimmer is a good player but put him up in a hostile environment like B'burg was saturday night and see if he can get the points like Nolan did or even shut down their top scorer like Nolan did as well.”

“If they were in a major conference, they wouldn't have this record. SOS has to be factored in heavily for a team like this.”

“Jimmer has yet to play against anyone nearly as good as him. Enter: Nolan [Smith].”


The last one is my favorite because Jimmer Fredette is the best player in the NCAA. Of course he has not played against anyone as good as him… because there is NOT anyone as good as him. Fredette is a projected lottery pick at 13th overall, in this year’s NBA draft. Smith is where? Oh yeah, 31st, projected to go late in the second round or even… u-n-d-r-a-f-t-e-d. That is right Duke fan. Eat it.

As far as the reference to the whole BYU team, and how they would not have that record if they played in the hallowed ACC, try swallowing these stats:

RPI: #1 in the land
SOS: 12th in the NCAA
Overall record: 27-2

Wanna know where Duke is?

RPI: #5
SOS: 37th
Overall record: 26-3

Duke’s strength of schedule is worse than Nolan Smith’s draft stock. Yeah, I said it. And I am not even a Duke hater. I like Duke. Before I dropped hook, line, and sinker in to college sports, Duke was the only team that I knew anything about. How could I not? East coast writers had been telling me how great they were for long—and for the most part, they were correct. The problem, as a casual observer who only slightly monitored college players for their impact at the next level, was that I missed out on really good teams. Teams that were maybe better then the Dukes, Kansas’ and UCLAs. Now I know. And it is not even as close as bad as it is with college football. My goodness.

When I was par oozing Duke fans boards, so I could feel justified in still hating the bias the voters had, 30 minutes after they justly gave BYU their deserved #3 ranking—because what kind of sports fan would I be if I did not constantly ask for more and more—I read one guys comment that “a simple eye test is all you need”. What he meant was when you look at the teams (storied names) in the ACC compared to the teams (non-storied) in the MWC, it is clear that Duke played better teams. To hell with saber metrics, mathematics, and thousands of sports journalist all pointing to obvious ranking placement. Eye test.

Basically, because Duke beat a big name like Wake Forest—which has only been the Final Four once (1962) and that is it—it is still leaps and bounds better than beating a small name team like UNLV which has won a National Championship (1990)…wait for it… defeating Duke. But whatever.

Eye test = all one would ever need to rank NCAA basketball teams, regardless of wins/losses, RPI, SOS, etc. The eye test is foolproof. Do not ask questions. Take your shoes off and rendezvous.

I am not complaining. I promise. Right now, all I know is that the Brigham Young Cougars have a better RPI, strength of schedule and less losses than the reigning National Champions: Duke. And are deservedly ranked above them in the both the AP and Coaches poll.

Shaboomya!

.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Editorial: Mark Buerhle

No brazen, cheeky and catchy opening paragraph or sentence this week. Get ready for the philippic sound off.

I have written, completely and totally unabashed, for and in the defense of Michael Vick, in my columns on several occasions. It is no secret that I love the storyline of Vick’s life. I feel no shame—in fact I feel a small sense of pride—when I say I look up to him because of turmoil he has risen above. As much as the haters do not want to admit, Mike Vick has transcended his life that once was. I take my pro-Vick convictions sans any salt, but do allow space in my opinions for those voiced on behalf of the anti-Vicks out there.

Another way of saying it: there are people who will never get past a mistake(s), which a person had made. This is a true statement. These type of people lack vision to see their own hypocrisy. The omitted compassion, on behalf of the dogs killed in the fighting ring, which the anti-Vick side has so adamantly clamored for, is similarly omitted in regards to the treatment of Michael Vick. It is an attitude of ‘an eye for an eye’ and that attitude is just as ugly dog fighting; perhaps more so. I get these people exist, and more often than not; I keep my mouth shut. They are entitled to their opinion with as much capacity as I am. But I can only stand so much.

I am talking to you, Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle.

"[Vick] had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we (he and his wife) watched the game and I know it's bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt," Buehrle told MLB.com earlier this month.

When I read an article about the statement, it struck a nerve (you have no idea), but I let it slide and kept what I thought about it to myself. If I spent my time piping up about every stupid comment someone made about what they wished upon Michael Vick, I could probably publish an encyclopedia-sized set of books with rebuttals. But who has the time? You just gotta keep on keepin’ on, ya know? But Mark, when you take time to talk to the media on the day you report to spring training, and during your conversation with them, make mention of the Vick comments and how it is behind you and all you are here to do is play baseball and blah blah blah—but then immediately and specifically re-address it and re-assert your point by saying, "… we are not bringing drama inside and past history stuff… [but] I meant it,” then I draw my line in the sand and write a column with a ninety-nine word run-on sentence in it.

Are kidding me Mark Buerhle? Are you really that stereotypical dense athlete? You do realize what you do for living, right? There has to be some light that goes on in that stupid head of your. It doesn’t? Hmm… time to examine your life man. I will help you, because you are extremely narrow minded.

1. You have spent your entire life in the pursuit of perfecting a talent God gave you.
2. You get to use that talent to play a sport professionally.
3. You get paid handsomely.
4. Your million-dollar salary, which in turn allows you to provide for family in a comfortable way, has to grant you a sense of pride in your manhood. It supplies you joy in your life.

… and you hold thoughts, possess wishes even, that Michael Vick—a person whose life mirrors yours in the 4-steps I just mentioned to a T—will get hurt in a capacity to end his career?

You really think that? I mean, that is how you really felt. If were going to talk about it, then lets break down and say what you truly meant with those comments. And do not even try and play me by saying, “we hope he gets hurt” that you meant bumps and bruises. Yeah right.

Every time the pocket collapsed or Vick scrambled, you sat in your mansion and hoped for:

Broken bones
Torn ACLs
Par. A. Ly. Za. Tion.

You could not even say something like, “I hope he has bad game” or “I hope he throws a lot of interceptions”. No, you wished for gruesome injuries. Those are your comments translated Mark Buerhle. Own ‘em. You see, we are able to draw those conclusions because people with half a brain are able to have what are called “thought processes”. Their minds are capable of deductive reasoning. You know what the word deduction means, right?

de·duc·tion [dih-duhk-shuhn]
-noun
5. logic.
a) a process of reasoning in which a conclusion follows necessarily from the premises presented, so that the conclusion cannot be false if the premises are true.

It is something maybe you can learn some day. Thought processes are comparable to the connecting the dots games you see in your coloring books. Yay! Learning is fun!

Basically, understand the weight of your words when you speak them. Do not pretend you are endowed with a sense of social responsibility because you ‘owned up’ to what you said during a locker room press interview. Like “I meant it” equals anything even close to knowledge to what you said, and if it does, than shame on you Mr. Buerlhe.

Please. Who says that? Twice even. Who wishes that? What kind of person… what kind of professional sports athlete even thinks along those kinds of lines? What kind of person are you? What do those comments say about your character Mark? How does someone, with those types of vindictive thoughts and feelings, put themselves in a category above a person who fought dogs? With your attitude, you are just as terrible as Michael Vick WAS when he did what he did. The sad thing, is you are the present tense of atrocity; my boy Mike is the past tense. This is not even another case of the pot calling the kettle black, and probably the only time Michael Vick can be referenced as not-black. I wish I could hear your lame answers to my questions, dammit, even though I can pretty much guess them. I have seen how you think Buerhle, even when you, your own self, cannot.

MARK BUERHLE'S RATIONAL:

Wishing the paralyzation of a human being ≤≤≤ Taking the life of an innocent dog

You blow my mind. You upset me. You disgust me, both you and your wife. You two deserve one another. And even while you say all of these terrible, terrible things; I would never wish upon you an injury. Why? Because I am a rational-thinking adult human being and not an emotional 4-year old, who thinks hiding behind his words are some how better than physically acting them out. In this case, the two are both one in the same. Forgive the baseball pun, but you are so off base with your thinking, you deserve to be called out.

Here is a comparative way to contrast Mark Buerhle’s comments:

There is particular scene in the movie Pulp Fiction between John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, where the two are sitting in diner discussing the consumption of pork. YouTube “Pulp Fiction – Filthy Animals” if you want to see the scene. The HITS editors have omitted the obligatory YouTube link, so often found my columns, due to the adult language. But to each there own; I have presented a path for you to take if you so desire.

Anyhow, in the scene they discuss the difference of dogs and pigs, and how dogs have personality. I agree that dogs do indeed possess personality, and it is because they possess personality, we humans interpret these traits as humanistic. We can think of them as human equals in a way. We even do this with non-living, inanimate objects. Cars, boats, homes, etc,. I do this with my motorcycle. Like most motor sport enthusiast, I consider my motorcycle a female. She has a name. I feed her, I wash her and I take care of her. I make sure she has everything she needs. I give her the best of the best. She has personality, and one that is different from other motorcycles. My motorcycle is more than a piece of fabricated parts. I care about her.

So if someone, stole her, chopped her up or wrecked her (killed her) I would be angry and I would spit and swear and go through all of the proper emotions. If caught, I would demand justice through our legal system. This person must pay for their crimes. Grand theft auto would garner some jail time. But what if it was not my bike that was stolen and chopped or totaled, and this person owned some of the motorcycles they chose to chop and mistreat for money. As a motorcycle lover, I would be outraged at the mistreatment of other motorcycles. I could relate and have feelings of sadness every time I looked at my bike. Now, if that person was caught, convicted, and say they served, oh I don’t know—18-months in a federal prison. What if after they were released, they also went and spoke in schools about the errors of their ways. Maybe they even became a spokesman for the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Association (SMSA; they are the people that put out the ‘Watch for motorcycles’ bumper stickers). In that scenario then I would feel some vindication. I could forgive them. They did the crime, and they did the time. I could recognize the effort that person was making to do right by their wrong decision.

Ooooooooor, I could go the Mark Buerhle rout and wish said person would get in a terrible traffic accident and become a paraplegic. Because once you have made a bad decision in your life, and have paid for your sins, you really have not. Mistakes can never be forgiven. Ever. That is not how things are done in Buerhle’s book. At one point in their past, this person used to steal and kill motorcycles for money. They deserve, terrible, irreversible bodily harm, regardless of what they have done post-crime.

[shaking head with extreme vexation]

If I am Michael Vick, in light of the negative spotlight from this Buerhle nonsense, I would have cancelled my Oprah Winfrey interview too. Yeah, you go on Oprah, talk about prison, you cry, she cries, the audience cries, they play some clips from this year’s season and pretty much America is required to forgive you. It’s Oprah for crying out loud. But then again, Oprah is a big dog lover, and let’s face it—it is her show and in it’s last season. Oprah can ask you anything she wants. What if she gets aggressive and goes Barbra Walters on you? What if you answer a tough question and it gets read wrong? An Oprah interview has an Oprah audience—not an ESPN one. I would wager that more than 90% of the people present for a Mike Vick interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show do not care about his 40-yard dash time or his performance against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. The only thing they know about you is that you killed dogs, went to prison and still get to make millions. They are not there to support you. Talk about a lion’s den.

Smart move Vick. Postpone the interview; take the high road with your silence. Let Buerhle invoke karma on himself this season. Send me a postcard if it happens. I am watching cricket this season anyway. All you can do is worry about you, and focus on preparing for next season. We just have to take the Mark Buerhle’s of the world for what they are: female versions of the animal referenced during this giant cluster cuss.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Keeping Things Open-minded

I am not a Utah Jazz fan, so I cannot weigh in on the sudden resignation of Jerry Sloan with any real impact or uproar, but I can feel sadness. Right? Like, I can have a respect for the game and the longest tenured coach, uh.. ex-coach, of the Jazz. I can still be affect by the departure of someone who has head-coached an NBA team for an amount of time that is longer in years, than the years my wife has been living. He changes the landscape of the NBA game that I love.

Deep down inside, I always wanted Jerry and the Jazz to get their title… but not really. During 1997 and 1998, I wanted the Jazz, sort of to win, but never truly. Come on, be realistic with yourself, it was all about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls back then. Face facts, everybody wanted the Bulls, unless of course you were a Jazz fan or evil. I guess when I say that there was a small part of me that wanted the Jazz to get theirs, I think I speak for everyone besides Jazz fans and evil people by saying, had the Jazz won one of those series against the Bulls I would have been able to swallow a Bulls Finals loss much easier, as opposed to them losing to the Denver Nuggets. You know exactly what I am saying.

Nobody really wanted the Jazz to win, you just kind of wanted John Stockton, Karl Malone and Jerry Sloan to have gotten the cherry on top. You wanted them to receive all the accolades that go with an NBA Finals Championship, but minus the actual winning of a Finals. Admit it. You know I am right. If we all feel this way, why can we not just quietly give it to them in the record books and if our children and grand children ask us why the Jazz winning the NBA Finals is never replayed on ESPN Classic’s, we’ll just say, “I don’t know, but they did.” and then change the subject. I honestly and sincerely think nobody would object. I mean really, would you care? I didn’t think so.

Also, did anyone notice that Jerry Sloan did not retire, but rather resigned? Allow a moment for that to digest. Why is nobody talking about this?

“Well, what are you implying Brady?”

Hear me out, and first, let me just clear the air a bit. Do I want Jerry Sloan to go the Karl Malone rout and be a part of an NBA team that is not the Utah Jazz? No. But, did I write a mega-column recently about a certain team that is oh-so “poised” to be great—all they need is that right guy coach. Why, yes I did. I thought Rick Adelman was the perfect guy, but could it not very well be famous and former head coach of the Utah Jazz, Jerry Sloan. Is that not, in some ways, better than ‘ole Rick?

Jerry Sloan
1221 Career Wins
.603 Win-Loss Percent
200+ post-season games under his belt

Rick Adelman
902 Career Wins
.610 Win-Loss Percent
150+ post-season games under his belt

Both coaches records are fantastic but the edge goes slightly to Sloan. Plus, he has to be even more revered than Adelman because he was with the Utah Jazz for 24 seasons. Could you imagine in Jerry went to Timberwolves.

Think about it. The Utah Jazz have Deron Williams and… umm.. OK, they have Deron Williams and that is about it. Unless you want to count 9th overall pick, Gordon Hayward (DOH!). The Minnesota Timberwolves, on the other paw, have options. Non-Gordon Hayward options. And that is important.

At the end of the January I compared Kevin Love to Charles Barkley, but maybe I should have been thinking along the lines of another great power-forward in Karl Malone. Jerry Sloan has never had anybody like that to since the Stockon-to-Malone days, and he knows exactly what to do with phenomenal big-man talent. What is even better about Kevin Love in comparison to Karl Malone is White Barry is not creepily, way too in to semi-trucks. If we’re going to do comparisons then lets do comparisons. Did we not see the warning signs when a man, with arms built like Panzer’s, openly protest his love for truck driving? Am I the only one that watches horror movies? Truck drivers are not to be trusted. They’re crazy; like Karl Malone is, as seen here.

And here.

Especially here.

This is getting off topic. All I am saying, is that if Jerry Sloan wants to give it one more go—and deep down I hope he does not—then the T-Wolves are the team that give him the best shot to do so. I am open to debate this. Moving on.

In other news, Albert Puljos has pretty much given the St. Louis Cardinals until the 16th of this month to get his deal done. What in the world is hold up? It is Albert freaking Puljos we’re talking about.

Lifetime
.331 BA
1.050 OPS
Averaging 42 HRs and 128 RBIs a season.

Get the guy his 10-year $300 million dollar deal and be done with it. I do not see why this has not happened yet. Dusty Baker said in a short interview that AP is worth $50 million a year. A he is kind of right. Pay Albert, and let us move on. Then again, I will be watching Cricket this spring instead of baseball anyways, so why do I even care. I guess don’t pay Puljos. Let the Yankees swoop him up for a billion dollars.

I will be enjoying the finer things in life while Puljos crushes baseballs for the Bronx Bombers. Things like biscuits and tea.