Sunday, December 17, 2006

Any clod can have the facts, but having opinions is an art - Charles McCabe

The (formerly Boston) Sports Guy, Hollywood Bill Simmons over at ESPN.com busted out with his turn-back-the-clock piece. His pre-2004 Red Sox whining about J.D. Drew based on e-mails from sour grapes Los Angeles Dodgers fans seems comical if it were not so sad. Here is a lovely sample of his response:


I haven't been this horrified by a big move from a Boston team since the Celtics
traded for Vin Baker four summers ago. The Sox just signed someone who, by all
accounts, plays without any semblance of passion or intensity. He's the exact
type of player that Boston fans have always hated. We have a century-long track
record of proving this point. That's the part I don't get. It's not like Theo is
from France -- he's from freaking Brookline. He should have known. Arrrrrrrrrgh.
Of course, compare J.D. Drew to an overweight alcoholic who used to help carry the kegs to Chez Chazer Dorm at U-Hartford. Neither humorous nor relevant. Apparently, Simmons believes Red Sox fans prefer players with intangibles: hustle, grit, dirty uniforms. Oh, you mean like Old Trot-Trot Nixon. Nixon got dirty diving for balls he could not catch, made Manny look like Captain Intangibles of the Pinstripers on the basepaths (seriously, how many times did Trot Nixon screw up in the field, on the bases, at the plate and yet ALWAYS walked around with a get-out-of-jail free card? He was a poor fielder, a horrible clutch hitter, always hit into a double-play at the worst possible time, or else struck out, had no power, had no speed, had numerous metal gaffes on the basepaths, and yet he is treated like he was some mythical Red Sox hero like Dwight Evans. I saw Dwight Evans play right field for the Red Sox, and Trot Nixon, you are no Dwight Evans!)

Anyway, now that I can smile and think about if I would perversely enjoy it more if Trot Nixon ended up in Pittsburgh or Tampa Bay this off-season, the HSG (Hollywood Sports Guy: all Clippers, all the time) postulates that Theo, being from Brookline, must be a moron because he goes out to get players who contribute to victories like J.D. Drew instead of another Lou Merloni who is loved by the locals for some inexplicable reason. Memo to HSG: NICE GUYS FINISH LAST! I will side with Theo and go with VORP over dirty uniforms.

My editor (aka Sexy Wife) is always on me not to bad-mouth the HSG, but I cannot help it. Having been addicted to his early work in the pre-Internet-monolith era, I KNOW what he is capable of doing, and it kills me to see him shoveling crud out at ESPN.com that he himself would have been first in line to mock.

So, I will end it on a high note for my fallen hero, the HSG, because he came up with two Patriots-related gems buried in his column:

The Patriots are going to end up with the best win-loss record of any team
undergoing a rebuilding season in NFL history.

and

Joey Harrington drawing a roughing-the-passer penalty by tripping over Vince
Wilfork's body may have been the most ridiculous moment of a ridiculous season.
I grew up with guys like Kenny Stabler, Roger Staubach and Steve Grogan taking
superhuman cheap shots from fearsome, 275-pound linemen and bouncing up every
time … now guys named "Joey" can accidentally trip over a prone nose tackle and
draw a 15-yard whistle. We're about 10 years away from QBs diving like soccer
players to draw penalties. Fantastic. Thanks for ruining my favorite sport, NFL
Rules Committee.

CLOSER-BY-COMMITTEE

Yes! The Closer-By-Committee is back in Boston. Long ridiculed by the casual fan and WEEIdiot, long argued for by the Legion of Bill James Fanatics, is this the year the Red Sox turn the league on its ear with its Five Closers bullpen? I certainly hope so.

The last time that I checked, the American League champion Detroit Tigers made it to the World Series with a variation of the idea. To be fair, Jim Leyland was bringing his closer in the game in the seventh and eighth inning. Jones was the mop-up guy. Joel Zumaya was the closer. He closed them down when it was needed the most and Jones just vultured a bunch of saves, further diluting an already useless statistic.

The Sox took another step in that direction by scooping up set-up man extraordinaire Brendan Donnelly from the Angels for a 27 year-old prospect. Phil Seibel? Here is what the AP release said about Seibel:
Seibel went 6-3 with a 1.24 ERA for three Boston farm clubs last season. He didn't pitch in 2005 after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his pitching elbow following the 2004 season.
Wow, they must be partying down in Anaheim now. Of course, there was one negative to dealing Seibel:

Before turning professional, Seibel pitched three seasons for the University of
Texas.
HOOK ‘EM HORNS! YEE-HAW!

* * *

FullPressCoverage.com: New England Patriots’ Top 2019 NFL Draft Picks Show Evolution on Both Sides of the Ball

The New England Patriots may have tipped their hand with their first two 2019 NFL Draft picks. Choosing a bigger, more aggressive outside-...