Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Random thoughts

Since I really haven't been good about posting lately, I thought I'd throw out a few things, most of which are totally unconnected.

A) It truly is amazing how one's perspective can change dramatically with the slighest change to one's information base. I was away this weekend. Somewhere after midnight Saturday night, I was watching the scroll of scores on ESPN, and saw the Nats up 5-0 in the 8th. I went to bed. On my drive home Sunday, the Nats were again shutting out the Padres late in the game--all I knew was the score and the inning from the news report, not what transpired the night before. So, here I am in my car thinking, "wow, we actually swept the Padres. Could we really be in this thing?" Then I get home and that night read DM's excellent expose on the PETCO Commission. I then checked the Sunday score to realize we lost again. In the space of 10 seconds, my information base went from "we swept the Padres" to "we lost the series 2-1." That small change of a few words in my mind was the difference between "we can do it" and "what a shame the season is over." As I said to DM Friday, we needed to go 11-4 in our last 15 to have any shot whatsoever (it would also require Houston to go .500 in its remaining games). I still believe that, which means, we need 10-2 or better in our last 12... a very tall order.

B) More on going to bed thinking something is over. I went to bed last night with about 5 minutes left on the clock and the Cowboys beating the Redskins 13-0. The Redskins pulled it out 14-13 telling me two important things: i) We may be the worst 2-0 team ever--seriously, even at 2-0 and an easy schedule, I would be shocked if this Redskins team finished above .500; and ii) I may be the worst fantasy manager in history--seriously, I make these moves that make soooo much sense and always seem to blow up on me. Benching Santana Moss against the Cowboys defense and Domanick Davis against the Steelers defense in favor of Warrick Dunn against Seattle and a seemingly healthy Brandon Stokely still makes perfect sense in my mind. Well, those two moves changed me from a relatively easy win this week into being blown out. I try to repeat the mantra that results don't make good decisions, but it's a bit difficult this morning.

C) Speaking of football, if anyone wants in my suicide football pool, email dexys_midnight@yahoo.com --20 per entry, enter as many times as you want, winner takes all, season starts week 5.

D) More speaking of football, of the 7 teams in the NFL that are now 2-0, five (Tampa, KC, Cincinnati, the Giants, and the Redskins) weren't just out of the playoffs last year, they were in last or next to last in their division. My over-under on the # of those five that make the playoffs this year: one (and I'll say that the one is KC).

E) Has anyone noticed how bad the Summer 2005 movies were? Usually I see a bunch and there are more that I think back to and say "oh, I missed that; I'll have to catch it on DVD." This summer I saw very little and can think of almost nothing I want to make sure to see when it comes out on DVD. Anyway, I personally see a direct correlation between this and the lower box office results.

F) Frank Robinson says he will pitch to Barry Bonds this series, because he doesn't believe in pitching around him. 700 or so baseballs beg to differ. I don't understand the blanket nature of this statement. Of course, you pitch to him in bunches of situations. But if the game is on the line and Barry is up with runners on and first empty, you walk him...see lessons not learned against Andruw Jones recently. Frank also said that no one should be talking about steroids with Barry because nothing has been proved. Let me address this.
As a lawyer and a somewhat socially liberal one at that, I strongly believe in the innocent until proven guilty foundation of our legal system. But as a lawyer, I also believe in something called "evidence." I do not understand the perverse incentive we and the media give to people to never admit their guilt regarding things like this. We basically say unless a guy ADMITS to a crime or to taking steroids, or whatever, we shouldn't think that he has done anything wrong no matter what the evidence to the contrary. In my view, it is completely legitimate for each person to have his or her own view on whether Barry took steroids and its effects based on the evidence they can see for themselves. Sometimes if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck--even if it doesn't come out and say "look at me, I'm a duck."

G) I am going to do a separate post on my preliminary picks for awards. But this season has made me realize something and I am going to say it here despite it being controversial and irrelevant because the status quo will indeed go on: There shouldn't be a manager of the year award. That's right, I said it. What do we do when we vote on this? I know what I have done, consciously or subconsciously, in the past. I pick the guy who manages the team that has exceeded expectations the most. But that is a pointless exercise, isn't it? What makes me think that my original expectations weren't just wrong? Or that luck didn't have a great deal to do with the team's record? Or that one important over-achieving player, or the GM with good trades, or a new pitching coach, or someone's horoscope didn't have just as much to do with it?
Many of those of us that have actually been watching all or the majority of the Nats games this year think that Frank Robinson has been asleep at the switch, that his lineup decisions, game day decisions, and basic strategy have cost the team more games than it won. But those who don't follow the Nats exceptionally closely will look at our record and their pre-season expectations and think "Frank did a great job." And why wouldn't they? It's what I probably would have done if I lived in Seattle or LA or Minnesota or wherever and wasn't a Nats fan.
So, anyway, not knowing what any given manager outside Washington is in the clubhouse or how well he constructs his lineups, or how well he makes game decisions or what other factors went into a team's record in a given season, I think it's silly to vote on the best manager for a given year.

3 Comments:

At 1:33 PM, Blogger El Gran Color Naranja said...

B) Yep. They could be the first 2-14 team that started the season 2-0. Though they do get to play San Fran.

C) I'm riding high as one of 2 left (out of 8) in our survivor pool picking the Skins in Week 1, and the Browns in Week 2. I like to live dangerously.

D) I'll take the over. You forget in the NFL 28 out of 32 teams have 8-8 talent, it's just luck and schedule that determine who gets in. Starting 2-0 is a strong heads up. I say the Redskins are the only ones that don't make the playoffs out of that group.

E) I just don't understand why if Hollywood doesn't see growth every year it goes into a panic. Seems like bad years are going to come and should be planned for.

F) So You're ok with me saying OJ did it?

G) League awards don't matter, all they really want is that precious ESPY. At least that's what ESPN has told me.

By the way: Is it sadder that ESPN got Matthew Perry to host the ESPYs this year, or that Mattheew Perry took the job as ESPY host?

 
At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Will said...

Frank's senility and completely nonsensical managing decisions won us a whole bunch of games. I'm not so sure that he has lost us more games than he won.

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger Mean Dean said...

Good post.

Has anyone noticed how bad the Summer 2005 movies were?... I personally see a direct correlation between this and the lower box office results.
Definitely. I did think Batman and Star Wars were good. Wedding Crashers too, but I dunno if you wanna spend $10 to see that on a big screen; it'd be just the same as home. That's all I saw, besides Fantastic Four (DO NOT GO THERE).

Frank also said that no one should be talking about steroids with Barry because nothing has been proved... In my view, it is completely legitimate for each person to have his or her own view on whether Barry took steroids and its effects based on the evidence they can see for themselves.
Well, I agree with this as far as fans having conversations with each other. I do think the obligations become different if we're dealing with employees of MLB teams speaking on the subject, or baseball taking official actions.

I pick the guy who manages the team that has exceeded expectations the most. But that is a pointless exercise, isn't it? What makes me think that my original expectations weren't just wrong? Or that luck didn't have a great deal to do with the team's record? Or that one important over-achieving player, or the GM with good trades, or a new pitching coach, or someone's horoscope didn't have just as much to do with it?
All fair points, or, what about the Phil Jackson-Joe Torre type coach whose strength is not getting a lousy-looking team to play .500, but getting an above-average team to work together and win the whole thing? I think I would rather have the award than not have it (the standards for all our awards are rather subjective and arbitrary), but you're right that it's probably even less reliable than the other awards.

 

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