I’ve posted my review of the Super Bowl as viewed in HDTV.
So the Genius had it right again. Back when the Patriots were slinging the ball all over the field early in the season, Ron Borges told us that a team that relied so much on passing couldn’t win a Super Bowl. Yesterday he also offered this insight to the game: “This is a game that could be close for quite some time and then, suddenly, explode into a one-sided affair.” Wow…the guy really does know what he’s talking about. Oh…the next line…”If it does, that side won’t be the Buccaneers’” All I can think of is “Announcer boy” on WEEI saying…”Sorrrryyy, Borges..”
Alright, I admit, that was a little piling on on my part on poor Borges there, and I’ll likely get slammed via e-mail by his supporters and told of my agenda against the guy. So be it. It’s nothing personal. He calls a Bucs player arrogant in his article today. Given his own behavior this year, I thought that a bit ironic. In any event, it’s the last game of the season, so Borges gets a respite after this, and won’t likely come under scrutiny again until draft time, when he’ll insist again that the Patriots should take a David Terrell type over a Richard Seymour type.
Michael Felger has the game story of the Raiders falling apart on the big stage. Nick Cafardo has a few more details. Michael Smith writes about the 5 int performance of Rich Gannon, who was made to look horrific by the Bucs’ D. Tom Curran says there is just no topping last years Super Bowl. Kevin Mannix vaults the Buccaneers right into the vaunted “great defense” category. Dan Shaughnessy looks at former Pat Greg Spires getting his ring, and ending the column with a knife twist to Patriots fan: “And Patriots fans watching last night no doubt wondered, ”Why can’t we get players like that?” No Dan…we weren’t thinking that. Speaking of Dan, how out of touch is he? Over the weekend, he did one of his “random thoughts” pieces and asked “Who is Jimmy Kimmell and why is ABC giving him his own show?” While I interpreted that as a sideways swipe at the whole younger generation, if Dan really doesn’t know who Kimmell is, he really has no business being a columnist at one of the biggest and most influential papers in the country. Sorry, now I’m gonna hear it from the Shaughnessy faithful…Mannix also looks at Spires’ role and gets a Tampa coach to knock the Patriots for letting him go. George Kimball has more on Gannon. I’ll say this for Gannon, on the Westwood One pregame show, when asked about the snow game and tuck rule last year, Gannon answered with class…he said it didn’t come down to that call, the Raiders should’ve put the game away on offense before the call, and they didn’t, and they should’ve stopped the Patriots after the call and they didn’t. Jim Donaldson says the Raiders were as bad as they could be. John Altavilla says Gruden was worth the bounty paid for him. I think it’s pretty ironic that the last two Super Bowls have now been won by coaches who were extracted from their former teams by paying draft picks. Borges also writes about unsung Tampa hero Michael Pittman. Smith takes a peek at the mystery disappearance of Raiders center Barret Robbins. It’s also the focus of Felger’s notebook, and the point is also made that Damien Woody could become a Pro Bowl player because of this incident. Jeff Jacobs says it doesn’t pay to be Rich, Felger agrees. Smith’s third article looks at Rice & Brown’s virtual no-show last night. John Habib notes that the game didn’t have the same feel without the Patriots playing in it. Shaughnessy also looks at the “brash” Gruden, and calls him the “god of all football“. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Keenan McCardell making the right move in skipping over New England, and notes how Will McDonough was honored in the press box.
Steve Bulpett reports on the Celtics victory yesterday over the McGrady-less Magic. Shira Springer reports on the game for the Globe. Mark Murphy looks at Paul Pierce elevating his play in the absence of Walker. Joe Burris agrees, noting this was a productive weekend for Pierce. Carolyn Thornton also looks at the magic performance by Pierce. Murphy also looks at Walter McCarty coming alive in the fourth quarter yesterday. Both notebooks look for a quick return by Walker. In the Herald’s notebook, news on Walker is followed by word on McGrady. In the Globe’s notebook, Walker is followed by a Battie update. Thornton’s notebook says the Magic didn’t have Heinsohn bulletin board material to motivate them yesterday.
I watched the Super Bowl in HDTV last night. I’ll have a review shortly.
No Sunday night wrapups. Working on Super Bowl article.
Dan Duquette has responded to the Boston Herald article regarding John Flynn. On the News page of the Dan Duquette Sports Academy , click on the link that reads “Duquette Outraged at Herald Article”. It’s a PDF file, so you’ll need Acrobat Reader to view the release. The ProJo also has picked up the Flynn story. Flynn also was a caller on WEEI on occasion.
So the Bruins finally make the Kyle McLaren trade, and vault to the top of the newspapers. I first heard of the trade while in my car and tuning in WEEI where Greg Dickerson was filling in for Ted Sarandis and at the time had Lenny Megliola with him. They were relaying word from the national “experts” who were saying that the Bruins had made a really nice deal here. A few callers I heard disagreed, but it was hard to tell if they really knew their hockey, or just wanted to whine about Jacobs/Sinden/O’Connell. Kevin Paul Dupont analyzes the trade in some detail. Steve Conroy details the trade in a smaller article for the Herald. Dan Hickling has the story for the ProJo. So now that he’s out of town, will the truth come out about why he wanted to get out of town? In the Conroy article, McLaren says it wasn’t a personal thing he held against the Bruins, but that he was hurt by their contract offer that would’ve given the team the option of sending him to the minors. I’ve heard quite a few rumors as to why he actually wanted out. Some have a similar theme, involving his wife and young child. These are all third party accounts, so it’s hard to put any details out without risking being dead wrong and looking like a fool. Frustrating, yes. As for the actual game, Dupont and Conroy also file game stories of the 4-1 Bruins victory. Conroy’s notebook garners player reaction to the deal.
A couple of Patriots made their way to San Diego for the game. They’re the focus of a few stories this morning. Michael Felger and Jim Donaldson catch up with Tom Brady, who is ready for next season to begin. A couple good looks at what a competitor he is. Dan Shaughnessy updates us on a few Patriots, but of course ends the article with a zinger from Terrance Shaw. Dan also gives us the transcript of a brief one-on-one with Brady. In the Globe’s Super Bowl notebook, Lawyer Milloy knows changes are coming, and says ”I don’t like the image of someone else holding up our trophy. It’s not going to leave me with a good feeling.” Felger has a Patriots notebook in which he also chronicles Milloy’s words, and gets a few word with Richard Seymour as well. It’s likely good that Patriots captains on each side of the ball (Brady and Milloy) are out there, sounding ticked off and hungry to get back at it. It sets a nice tone going into next year. Special Teams captain Larry Izzo tells Hector Longo he isn’t happy sitting at home watching the playoffs, either.
As for the Super Bowl matchup, Gerry Callahan starts off noting what this game does to the nation, and then goes into the “semi-annual Super Duper Super Bowl Quiz.” Dan Shaughnessy does what he does best…chronicle the failures of a franchise, this time instead of the Red Sox, it’s Tampa Bay. Reads like a chapter out of Curse of the Bambino. I’m shocked he didn’t work in the phrase “The curse of Doug Williams.” Nick Cafardo has another look at Jon Gruden, while Michael Smith looks at Bill Callahan. Chris Price has a shorter Gruden article for the Metro. John Altavilla notes the ties between Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson from their days with the Vikings. Kevin Mannix notes the success Gruden has had with both Gannon and Johnson. Ron Borges looks at a couple of Raiders carrying steel onto the field. George Kimball looks at Rich Gannon as the key to the Raiders success. (Really?) Smith also looks at Raiders linebacker Napoleon Harris. John Altavilla also has a look back at the first Super Bowl. Cafardo looks at Gruden’s younger brother Jay Gruden, who is not only a Bucs offensive assistant, but an Arena League coach and player, owning 4 rings from that league. Kimball’s Raiders notebook ties up some loose items, while Mannix does the same with his Bucs notebook. Keyshawn Johnson is the subject of a Jeff Jacobs column. Steve DeOssie comments on media controversy at the Super Bowl. Leigh Montville picks the Super Bowl winner.
Jeff Horrigan and David Weber report on a somewhat weird story. A couple of websites that were used to “trash” Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino were recently ordered taken down by MLB. The creator of the web sites also does PR work for Dan Duquette’s Sports Academy, though I think its 100% safe to say Duquette had nothing to do with this. The headline writer to this story seems to be trying to be a bit dramatic, almost pointing the blame at Duquette, when the rest of the story doesn’t bear that out. But you can be sure that some nitwit in the media will be running with the angle that Duquette hates Theo and was really behind these sites. (D&C already went in this direction this morning.) Not in this story is the fact that the guy who created the sites, John F. Flynn, of Brookline has spent the last several weeks posting almost constantly to some of the larger Red Sox bulletin boards, Sons of Sam Horn, the Projo Red Sox board and the Red Sox usenet newsgroup, angering many of the participants there. His messages? While Flynn in the article “insisted he had nothing to do with the insulting comments”, his messages on these boards would lead to you believe otherwise. They almost all mock Epstein and Lucchino, and were so constant and inflammatory that many on the Usenet group had “Killfiled” him, so as not to even see his messages anymore. Could Flynn have been acting under Duquette’s orders? I doubt it, though I guess anything is possible. I’ve had a little correspondence with Flynn in the past, and his recent behavior puzzled me.
On actual Red Sox news, Michael Silverman updates us on the signings of Dave Nilsson and Hector Almonte. Steven Krasner and David Heuschkel also chime in on the news. Gordon Edes says Shea Hillenbrand is still here, and just might end up being an important part of this team. From yesterday, John Tomase weighs in on the David Ortiz signing.
Steve Bulpett reports the Jim O’Brien is not happy with the inconsistencies his club is showing. Frank Dell’Apa also says the Celtics need to get the big defensive stops. Michael Muldoon says hurry back, Antoine. In Bulpett’s notebook, Paul Pierce is among those who comment on Walker’s Rick Pitino imitation on the sideline.
Bill Griffith tells you how to plan your Super Bowl Sunday so as to get the most out of the viewing experience. John Madden flip-flops again in Jim Baker’s column about his comments at the end of last years Super Bowl when he said the Patriots should kill the clock and go to OT. Now he says he’ll “say that for the rest of his life.” In The Week That Was, I’m tired of “On Location” broadcasts that don’t offer much. Bob Baker of the LA Times profiles Bill Simmons, linking to some of his most popular columns.
FSNE has Celtics/Nuggets at 7:30. ESPN2 has Michael Jordan’s last game in Chicago with Wizards/Bulls at 8:00. They follow that with Nets/Lakers at 10:30. ESPN Classic has a Bill Parcells SportsCentury feature at 8:00 & 11:00.
Eddie and Jags traveled all the way to San Diego so they could talk to Dan Shaughnessy about the Red Sox. Shank was among the guests today and called David Ortiz “a huge sack of you know what”. He also said Manny is a perfect candidate to play in Petco Field. Other guests included “Michelle” a “flash girl” from the Playboy Channel. One item on the McDonough group was of interest. Sean said he was driving around listening to the local sports radio station and heard a spot on it that proclaimed them the “Highest rated sports radio station in the country”. He wondered where he had heard that before. They said they (WEEI) would never put something dishonest out there…
Mike Fine looks at the first game without Antoine. Rob Bradford catches up with Sam Cassell among others. Fine’s notebook looks at the defensive shortcomings last night. Gary Fitz has Walker proclaiming he’ll be back sooner, rather than later. Bradford also catches up with Bucks assistant Jim Todd and provides some useless information. (His description, not mine)
Mark Farinella tells us what he likes, and hates, as a reporter, about the Super Bowl.
The Hartford Courant has suspended sports writer Ken David for plagiarism.
Though on the sidelines, Antoine Walker is still very much a part of the game stories in the papers this morning. Providing his usual trash talk of the opponents and referees, and exhortation of his teammates from the sideline. Perhaps not a wise move to taunt an already peeved and white hot Ray Allen. Steve Bulpett provides a summary of the night that includes the Bucks shooting 53% from the floor along with 50% in three pointers. Hard to talk much trash though when you’re getting jumpers rained down on your head. Shira Springer has more on Walker’s talk and the Bucks walk. Carolyn Thornton just notes that its a case of turnabout is fair play. Lenny Megliola looks at the void left by Walker and the candidates on the team to step and do more, even more than they did last night. Mark Murphy looks at why Ray Allen was on a personal crusade last night. Tommy loved Waltah for three quarters last night, but he faded in the fourth, Frank Dell’Apa looks at McCarty’s night. Peter May notes that the going was rough for Paul Pierce last night, and is likely only going to get worse until Walker returns. Speaking of Walker’s return, Murphy offers an encouraging report, also noting that Antoine plans on participating in the three point shootout All Star weekend and in the game if selected. Thornton’s notebook has more on that topic, as does Springer’s notebook. Bulpett’s notebook has more on Walter stepping up and more on Joe Forte’s curious behavior out in Seattle. Chad Finn has a few NBA thoughts while touching all the bases.
The Super Bowl stories continue to pile up, but as is a tradition during this week, usually they’re more about quantity than quality. A real human interest story though is reported by Michael Felger and Dan Shaughnessy, who write about Buccaneers wide receiver Joe Jurevicius, who is preparing for the biggest game of his life while having the concern about his son, who was born three weeks prematurely and is struggling to stay alive. Jim Donaldson whines that the Super Bowl used to be a matchup of great quarterbacks, something that doesn’t happen anymore, and is evident this year, as he refers to the two in this game as “journeymen” and appears to put down Tom Brady as well. Michael Smith looks at the Raiders group of running backs. George Kimball writes about the the duo of Rice and Brown. Kevin Mannix looks at Keyshawn Johnson, who feels persecuted by the media. Jeff Jacobs looks at the low key Bill Callahan. Nick Cafardo chooses workaholic Tampa defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as his subject for the day. Michael Smith also looks at the Oakland O-Line, described by tackle Lincoln Kennedy as a dysfunctional family. Kimball also has a piece on Joey Porter. The NFC notebook by Mannix makes another Patriots connection to Tampa. The Globe’s Super Bowl notebook makes more Patriot connections including news that Keenan McCardell was a top Patriots target last offseason. The Herald’s AFC notebook has quotes from Romeo Crennel on being considered for the 49ers job. Alan Greenberg just realized that the Patriots aren’t playing in the Super Bowl.
Steve Buckley has a new disciple in his ministry to retire Tony C’s number: Bill Burt says it’s time for this to happen. Buckley must have worked him over hard during the breaks in their “Big Show” appearance on Monday. I’m waiting for the Super Bowl to be over and Dan Shaughnessy to come home and rip into David Ortiz, officially signed by the Red Sox yesterday. Shaughnessy had very harsh words on the subject of Ortiz a few weeks ago on Sports Final, (and called him a “sack of you know what” on WWZN today) so look for the column next week from Shank. Gordon Edes notes however, that Ortiz was “One of the most popular players in the Twins clubhouse.” David Heuschkel says Oritz may spell the end for Hillenbrand and says Epstein has said the team needs another right handed bat. Steven Krasner also reports on the crowded situation at first. Tony Masarotti says Ortiz will be given the chance to win the everyday first base job. In his look at Ortiz, Alex Speier notes while Ortiz struggled against lefties last year, he has had success against them in past.
Karen Guregian looks at the high minutes logged by Joe Thornton and Glen Murray. Steve Conroy looks at the impression made by rookie Martin Samuelsson. Jim Greenidge looks at another Bruins newcomer, Rich Brennan, who grew up rooting for the Bruins.
TNT has Mavs/Sixers at 7:30 and Warriors/Nets at 10:00. ESPN has Bruins/Penguins at 8:00 FSNE has UNH/BU Hockey at 7:00, and UCLA/Stanford college hoops at 10:30. ESPN2 has college hoops with Wake Forrest/Virginia at 7:00.
From what I can gather, WBZ radio was actually the first to report yesterday that Antoine Walker is going to miss some time -up to eight games- with a knee injury. Unless your name is Brandon Stahl, this is bad news for the Celtics. Walker, who was named NBA Eastern Conference player of the week yesterday, will be replaced in the lineup by Kedrick Brown. Eric Williams will move to power forward, and Brown will play the other forward spot. Shira Springer has the news and says don’t be surprised to see Antoine back sooner. Steve Bulpett also reports on the bittersweet Tuesday, and says Walker will not rush back this time. Carolyn Thornton reports on the story for the Projo. Bulpett’s notebook takes a good look at the difference that Bremer and Brown have made to the Celtics. Bulpett calls Brown “the team’s best and most impactful defender right now, just a year and a half out of junior college. Others may know the schemes better and have more savvy at certain points of the game, but no one else can lock up an opponent the way he can.” If you saw the job he did on Ray Allen Saturday night, and also noticed that in the last two minutes of the game, that O’Brien switched him over to the white-hot Sam Cassell, you get an idea of what Bulpett is talking about.
Gerry Callahan does a good job of summing up the Super Bowl matchup: “It is the Raiders vs. the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII, the classic showdown between the insufferable object vs. the detestable force. Unless you’re a member of the Glazer family or one of those sorry citizens of Raider Nation who hides his sexual inadequacies beneath a Darth Vader costume, you just can’t get excited about either team.” Kevin Mannix suddenly finds Warren Sapp to be a loveable, embraceable figure. Dan Shaughnessy writes about John Gruden. Jim Donaldson devotes a column to proclaiming that the Raiders are old. Letting us know in every possible way. One line puzzled me: “Their favorite television network is ESPN2, because they’re Old School.” I think he’s referring to ESPN Classic, but who knows what’s in Donaldson’s brain. Jeff Jacobs and George Kimball look at the perfect fit between Bill Romanowski and and Raiders. Nick Cafardo writes about Sapp and Keyshawn Johnson talking, talking and talking. Ron Borges writes about the long-suffering Tim Brown, finally getting a chance to play in the big game. Michael Felger says John Gruden has certainly proved to be worth the picks Tampa gave up for him. Felger also looks at Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who had an awkward moment during his media day interviews. The Bucs notebook by Mannix ponders if this defense can be considered among the best ever. Michael Smith and Nick Cafardo’s notebook looks at the supposed edge the Bucs might have with Gruden as their coach and notes that Terrance Shaw is enjoying this Super Bowl more than last year. Kimball’s Raiders notebook has for Buc Frank Middleton recalling his days practicing against Warren Sapp.
Nick Cafardo also has a brief mention on Romeo Crennell getting an interview with the 49ers for their head coaching vacancy. Michael Felger looks at two ex-Pats, Greg Spires and Terrance Shaw grousing about their time in New England and gloating about being in the Super Bowl.
Steve Buckley writes about the media buzzards circling around Robbie Ftorek, and that he doesn’t let them affect him. Wouldn’t it be cool to have buzzards circling around writers heads? “So-and-so hasn’t produced a good column in weeks, is the (insert paper name here) considering firing him? Is the pressure on to produce? Let’s ask his wife and kids if they’re worried about Dad losing his job. Tomorrow’s column could be the last for ol’ so-and-so.” Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports on top-goalie-by-default Steve Shields. Steve Conroy says the team is remaining positive.
Gordon Edes gives the latest on the Kevin Millar situation, an official from the Japanese club is coming over to escort him over to Japan. The Globe has done a pretty good job this winter providing a Red Sox story nearly every day. John Tomase asserts that Theo Epstein’s offseason may be anything but the failure that many want to label it. Cosmo Macero Jr proposes a swap…Fenway and the land around it for land in South Boston to build a new stadium. He suggests turning the land Fenway is on to build housing units.
Bill Griffith looks at media members trading roles recently. Greg Dickerson sits in on Celtics broadcast, filling in for Tommy Heinsohn (doing a good job too) Sean McDonough writes a column in the Sunday Globe, Tom Caron does some play-by-play. Jim Baker previews the ABC Super Bowl TV coverage.
FSNE has Celtics/Bucks at 7:00. NESN has BC/Villanova college basketball at 7:30. ESPN has Maryland/North Carolina at 7:00 and Wizards/Hornets at 9:00. ESPN2 has Purdue/Illinois at 7:30.
More mail. I’m thinking of answering more of it “out loud” like this, just because I get a lot of the same questions and comments. We’ll see how it goes.
Ron LaPlante writes in:
“Do you realize that with constant complaining about about Borges you are starting to sound just like the writers and agendas you so vociferously complain about. My the way for all the love you profess he has for the Raiders he picked against them in the Globe last Friday. I didn’t see any mention of that now did I? I guess it didn’t fit your ” agenda ”
Fair enough. I do sometimes worry about sounding like a broken record, or that I’m picking on one or two guys too much. Perhaps though, I could answer this question in true Borges fashion…”what do you want me to do…I been calling the guy a genius for a month now…”
Happystick wants to put his vote in with Shawn:
“I think Stampy is a riot and has made the Mike Adams show much better. Candy still doesnt bring much (except for her pics on the website) Who is Stampy(Stumpy?) and where did he come from. No mention of him on the website, it seems one day he just showed up. D&C is unlistenable. I like Gerry’s columns in the Herald, but listening to him commenting on headlines and calling everybody a scumbag got old real fast.
I’m 35, married w/children, homeowner, household income over $140K and I spent over $7k in audio-visual equipment last year. I should be in a coveted demographic. Yet WEEI thinks I only understand screaming matches and stupid jokes. If someone complains on the air they call them stupid and say how good their ratings are. I listened to WEEI from the beginning. I remember the Glen Ordway& Janet Pransky show. Now I only listen out between WZLX commercials. Within 2 years the WEEI fizz will dry up”
I agree to a point. Many times I don’t enjoy D&C. I often feel exactly as you do about Callahan….great in print, HATE him when he starts talking politics.
I looked forward to the Mike Adams show as being funny, being not negative, being different….Mike can do it…but he needs help…like I said he needs a straight man…someone to play off of, someone who knows all the sports and can do a real interview. I’m just hugely disappointed in the Mike Adams show and know it can be so much better….I don’t think WEEI is going away, however.
Al wants to know:
“… are we going to be subjected to an entire week of schtick about the Glen and the boys’ accomodations on the Big Show? Not exactly scintillating listening… and I don’t believe for one second that they don’t ALL have top of the line accomodations…
PS.. nice free ad for Campbell soup with that Michael Strahan appearance… I imagine there will be more “infomercials” during the week, as well.”
What? You don’t think the “Pete has a great suite, but should give it up to Fred because Smerlas brought his wife out for the weekend” soap is real? And it’s only Tuesday…wait till Friday. Of course you can always switch over and listen to Andelman if you want, it’ll be a constant stream of his Vegas buddies and business partners.
Eli (and many others) asked:
Any idea what happened to Michael Holley? Talk about a guy who fell from the face of the earth.
As was actually first reported here, Holley took a leave of absence from the Globe in order to write a full-access, behind-the-scenes book about the 2002 Patriots. He even got to be on the sidelines during the games. No word yet on when the book is due out, or when Holley will be back with the Globe.
Frank points out:
I think you missed a good opportunity to point out a truly humorous quote from Chris Wallace, or the General Manager Who Should Be Replaced (GMWSBR).
It was as follows:
”You are always looking to upgrade your team,” said Wallace. ”However, there are realities that you have to deal with in today’s NBA, which is that virtually every team in the league wants shorter contracts coming back than they’re sending, or at worst equal. There are not too many teams that are looking to take on more financial burden than what they already have. With that in mind, there’s a situation in the NBA right now which is like gridlock on the highway, because you can’t have everybody accomplish that.
The key words, of course, are as follows: “. . .virtually every team in the league wants shorter contracts coming back than they’re sending, or at worst equal. There are not too many teams that are looking to take on more financial burden than what they already have.”
Vin Baker kind of comes to mind, don’t you think? Anderson’s contract would have ended after this year. Vin’s contract, of course, runs on several more years.
I wish Shira was more of a reporter and less of a transcriber. I mean, this would have been the best lead into asking him again to justify the contract, using his own words against him.
Other than this missed opportunity on your part, I love the coverage and commentary you are providing on the Celtics… Do you think you could start a campaign to get rid of GMWSBR? I would gladly sign the list first. I am not too pleased with new ownership, either. I mean, their first order of business is to cram new seats into the Fleet Arena so they can make more dollars? Why not wait and do this after signing two quality role players? You’d think they might understand a little more about marketing than that. Right now, they seem eerily similar to Gatson, whose main priority was the bottom line.
Frank, thanks for pointing this out to me, and for your thoughts on the Celtics and Shira. Also, imagine if the Celtics had a Kenny Anderson with an expiring contract to dangle around the league at the trading deadline…
Finally, Aaron Schatz compares and contrasts Casey Fossum and Bartolo Colon (no added comments from me) :
I’ve been thinking about the Sox not dealing Fossum for Colon. I’ve been getting ready for the next roto baseball season, using some sabermetric tools I use to judge pitching, and I looked at both Colon and Fossum. Those who think this Bill James business is a load of horse pucky should stop reading now.
First of all, the greatest indicator of future pitcher success is strikeouts. The higher the rate of K to walks, the higher the rate of K per 9 innings, the more likely a pitcher is to get better (or stay great, if they are at their peak like Colon is).
2002 K/BB rate: Fossum 3.37, Colon 2.13
2002 K/9IP rate: Fossum 8.52, Colon 5.75
Colon good, Fossum better.
There’s a stat called “Strand Rate” that measures how many baserunners a pitcher allows that don’t score. Usually, a pitcher over 80% will decline in the following year, while a pitcher under 65% will get better, simply due to luck.
Fossum: 72%, Colon 81%
Last year, a guy named Voros McCracken came up with a theory that, with the exception of knuckleballers, the number of hits a pitcher gives up per ball put in play is no different for good pitchers and bad pitchers. It’s dependent on luck and defense quality. Randy Johnson led the league in hits per ball in play one year and was last the next.
Based on this theory, last year, Colon gave up 18 less hits than his other stats would suggest. Fossum gave up 18 MORE hits than his other stats would suggest – in HALF as many innings. It is likely both these numbers will move towards the middle this year.
Do you want conventional stats? How much difference do you think there was between Colon’s ERA and Fossum’s? Actually, the difference wasn’t that great – Colon was 2.93, Fossum 3.46.
There’s one caveat – Fossum was a relief pitcher until July. Relievers always have better numbers because they can let it all out for an inning or two while starters have to conserve energy.
So let’s look only at Fossum’s 12 starts. His K/BB ratio was actually HIGHER, 3.90. His K/9IP ratio was actually HIGHER, 9.53. His luck, as far as hits per balls in play, was actually WORSE. His strand rate was the same, and his ERA was higher as a starter (3.66 vs. 3.00) – but remember that relief pitchers always have lower ERAs than starters because starters get charged when crummy relief pitchers let their inherited runners score.
Fossum was better as a starter in the second half than he was as a reliever in the first half.
I’ve been thinking, well, Colon is better, but I’m glad that the Sox didn’t trade Fossum because there isn’t $7.5 million dollars difference between them. Ya know what – now I don’t even know if Colon is better. The difference between him and Fossum last year was almost entirely due to luck. The only advantages Colon would seem to have are experience under pressure, the ability to go a little longer into games before he needs the bullpen, and the ability to win any clubhouse eating contests. There is an even money chance that Fossum will have a better year than Colon this year.
And, if the Sox sign some free agent like Rogers or Finley and push Fossum to the bullpen, they are nuts. But then again, since Theo believes in all of these numbers, I doubt that will happen.
With Eddie and Jags en route to San Diego for the Super Bowl, Steve Burton and Tom Caron of NESN filled in on the WWZN midday show to provide a refreshing change of pace. They took predictions on the big game, talked to Tony Massarotti about the Red Sox, and took more calls than Eddie ever has.
Dale & Neumy spent quite a chunk of time discussing the ESPN.com franchise rankings. Patriots come in 16th, Celtics 42, Bruins 81, and Red Sox 89.
Not everyone thinks the WWZN morning show needs help, Shawn writes in:
“I couldn’t disagree with you more. I still think D&C is the worst sports program on the air. Certifiably unlistenable. On the other hand, I like the Mike Adams show. Not negative at all. They mix in a lot of different stuff. Stampy(Stumpy) is actually pretty funny and adds another element. It’s everything opposite of the D&C show, which is maybe why I like it.”
(I’ve gotten a ton of e-mails going the other way, agreeing with what I said, but I want the other side to be heard too.)
Well Shawn, I said I want to like the show, I just can’t right now. I want Adams to succeed, but he needs help there.
The Buffalo News has a pretty extensive look at Celtics rookie J.R. Bremer.
The Tuesday Morning Quarterback notes the football gods are likely wincing at this Super Bowl matchup. If you missed it from the weekend, Tom Curran debuted his bi-weekly Patriots mailbag, and had a 1-1 interview with Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Nick Cafardo has his mailbag and his weekly pre-mailbag comments as well, which include a little anecdote from the Will McDonough Memorial Services at the Fleet Center. ESPN.com is reporting that Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennell is among those who will be interviewed for the 49ers head coaching job.