Saturday, October 14, 2006

All hail the Tigers

Rowdy Jr. and I enjoyed that game tonight. He calls it "bat-a-ball," not baseball, and wants every batter to hit the ball "high, high, high."

Now the Mets and Cardinals are on, and both these teams look pretty mediocre. The Mets start Oliver Perez tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing what he can do now in a playoff atmosphere. Not too many people expect much, as that NY Post article by Joel Sherman suggests. Maybe Ollie can surprise them all.

Ex-Pirates win!

All hail the skipper!

Kill, kill, kill

Right guard Kendall Simmons gave himself frostbite while watching MNF and will miss the KC game. Starting in his place will be Chris Kemoeatu, Gerry Dulac reports:

Said Kemoeatu, "It's hard for a young guy going out there because all you think is 'kill, kill, kill,' instead of playing smart. Kendall talked to me about that and I think that helped me out a lot."

All hail blman37!

For the 10-4 ATS, earning Week 5 swami honors. I tread water, one game below .500 at 36-38. Rowdy, now at .432, continues his limbo towards the Littlefield Line (.431). Still time to get in the pool.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Shortslef added

Josh Shortslef added to the 40-man roster. For comment, see Wilbur's analysis.

A team like the Pirates can't have too many relief pitchers, as Bones explains.

Nobel Peace prize for hangover-curing powers

News that the microloan dude won the Nobel Peace prize reminds me to plug, my favorite internet charity thing.

With this website, you can lend money to people far away through PayPal. They use it for six months or a year, then pay you back. Then you cash out or lend it again.

One of my favorite deserving entrepreneurs is Juan Quinto. All I know about him is that photo and the text of his loan application, which mentions that his restaurant specializes in "encebollado," which features an "incredible mix of ingredients, including albacore tuna, onions, yucca, and lime." This dish is a favorite in Ecuador for "its hangover-curing powers." All hail Juan Quinto! Have fun spending my money, Juan, and don't forget--I want it back.

No more internet gambling

President Bush is expected to sign Bill Frist's no-internet-gambling measure into law this afternoon.

All this should be good for slots. And this will be good for the Nuttings the children, whose parents will enjoy school property tax cuts.

We blame a lot of things on the Nuttings, but here I'm not serious. This looks more like one man's attempt to make himself a Presidential candidate.

What are you thinking about the gambling ban? Anyone adept at opening Swiss bank accounts? To me it's not clear what loopholes or workarounds exist or will work.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Chad Brown returns

In other news, Porter and Townsend hurt yesterday and Chad Brown signed to take Porter's place. Welcome back, Chad.

Finger pointing

Bob Trumpy and Mike Butler point at Ben. Jack Ham points at the wideouts. Ed Bouchette writes it down.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

3-4 defense

The Charger defense looked a lot like the Steeler defense, and that got me wondering if the 3-4 has become more common. A few years ago, it was used by only a few teams and was generally discredited as sacrificing too much bulk and strength for speed. At nose tackle, a team needs a vending machine superman (reg. req. for "Nose tackle with big appetite getting recognition he deserves"; see bugmenot), and at linebacker, a team needs serious skills and leadership.

These teams, I'm pretty sure, mainly use the 3-4: Pittsburgh, San Diego, New England, Cleveland, Dallas, San Francisco, Miami (about half the time), and the New York Jets (adopted it this year). There are some good and some bad defenses. The league's worst defense, which plays a lot down in Texas, just switched to the 4-3 and failing to make the 3-4 work.

So now is it more common? Or do I only think that because I just watched the Chargers shred the Steelers offense, Steeler-style?

And what about the college level? Penn State has been moving toward the 3-4. Are many college teams doing this?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dave Littlefield, heart surgeon

For most occupations in today's society, gross incompetence will quickly get you fired. Of course there are exceptions, including being GM of the Pittsburgh Pirates. What if Dave Littlefield had followed another path, and similarly failed? What if this utter failure was similarly tolerated? Today we explore one of these parallel universes...

Scene: an operating room. A horribly mangled corpse lies upon an operating table. DL, wearing full surgical gear, is covered in blood and surrounded by bustling assistants. The doors burst open, and the elderly Chief of Surgery, also in full surgical scrubs, enters.

Chief (rushing to corpse): What the hell is going on here?

DL: The motivation was simply that we felt like we could upgrade this man's organ systems like we've done in the past with many other patients.

Chief (inspecting corpse): He's dead. This man was to have an aortic valve replacement. Instead you ... implanted the GI tract of a cadaver into his thorax and arm to give him a second functional anus on his elbow?

DL: Whether it's media or his family, everybody has to realize that, if this man is going to get better, part of it is having a better backup GI tract. I don't want to undermine the fact that he's got a lousy heart. But, as far as other organs go, he's got good individual organs. Better days are definitely ahead for this man, and they're coming soon.

Chief (gravely): Dave, he's dead.

DL: There is often times a misperception of what kind of value certain vital signs have. That's always what's hard for people to understand that are kind of on the outside looking in. You always have in mind the fact that you've got to play the 'What if' game. What if this man's heart starts beating again?

Chief: You just killed a man! That's the third time today! Have you lost your damned mind?

DL: Not at all. This patient retains control over his new elbow sphincter for the next two years.

Chief: Goddamnit, Dave, are you listening to me? He's dead.

DL: In the future he'll need less of his heart just to a lesser degree. We'll maybe see in a couple years. His liver and lungs obviously are both doing a very nice job. His new second anus obviously has taken advantage of this new situation and done a solid job so far.

Chief: (sigh) Go wash up, Dave. Another patient's waiting in OR15.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Drilling Jeff Kent

Hilarious recap now at Deadspin of Scott Ostler's even-better San Francisco Chronicle report on the fantasy-driven deceptions of Tom Candiotti.

For sure I think that fantasy sports and the correlating increase in attention to individual achievement hurts teams like the Pirates. For sure I doubt that our players care enough about winning. For sure I think that the right manager, say Jim Leyland, would get much better results mainly by more effectively motivating these young men.

As much as I like Freddy Sanchez, which is a lot, my disenchantment with the Go Freddy Go stuff, which Bones mocked in mid-September, comes from my sense that the team and the fans were going to accept that consolation prize and feel good about a season that otherwise went as mind-numbingly bad as a season could possibly go.

Once a team starts the year 30-60, there is nothing that can redeem that failure.

That's just my opinion, I know, but the fact that it's not widely shared is something that I find discouraging and, possibly, a part of the self-perpetuating failure that grips the franchise.

Adam Dunn on the block?

Sean Casey fan extraordinaire Hal McCoy argues that the Reds should dump Adam Dunn.

Dunn is a left-handed monster who draws a ton of walks. Can you say "perfect fit" for Pittsburgh? Batting average is not a concern here. If Sanchez does not win the title again next year, maybe Ronny Paulino does.

I would gladly give up any of our starters for whatever remaining rights to Dunn the Reds have to offer.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Steelers lose

So how did that happen? Everything looked under control at the start of the second quarter. Then the Chargers like scored a shitload of points.

NFL week 5: Steelers at Bolts

Years ago they'd bill tonight's game as the Master (Marty Schottenheimer) against the Student (Bill Cowher). There was a stretch of time where the Steelers travelled to Kansas City every year for a Monday night game with such billing.

It would be appropriate tonight, too, because the coaching and the game plan will make the difference. Cowher and his staff once did wonders by limiting Roethlisberger's role in the offense. When not asked to do too much, he exceeded expectations.

The Super Bowl victory, the retirement of Jerome Bettis, and the whole near-death motocycle experience have elevated Roethlisberger's role on the team, perhaps to a point that's higher than a man of his age can handle. So I'd like to see him put back on that same short leash he once found so comfortable.

Chargers preview links

The PG's Gerry Dulac previews the matchup and LT and Michael Turner, while Ed Bouchette previews the much-anticipated Polamalu-Gates matchup. LT and Turner are averaging 5.1 and 7.4 yds/carry respectively. The Bolts' defense leads the league in allowing only 66 rushing yds/game, but has played the Raiders, Titans, and Ravens. The Bolts will wear the powder-blue throwback jerseys and are 3 to 3.5 point favorites. To win, Ben needs to overcome his brain [cramps] and make better and quicker decisions.

ALDS: Ex-Pirates 3, Yankees 1

Congratulations to Leyland, Casey, Mac, Lamont, Slaught, Belliard, and Slick for knocking out the hated Yanks. I want to see the Tigers run the table.

Colclough out for season

Neck problem. Undrafted rookie Anthony Madison gets promoted from the practice squad.