"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
A twitter troll finds out what happens when keepin' it real goes wrong, ESPN continues to be ESPN, Sparty continues to be Sparty, a junior hockey team scores at 4:20 , and... Jose Canseco.
Dad, We’re Well Out of Range
Boxers can’t get all the way over here…
If you’ve ever seen a kid at the zoo, you probably laughed a little inside when he was deathly frightened by the tiger behind the giant piece of tiger-proof Plexiglas. “After all,” you thought to yourself, “doesn’t he know that we’re safe here?” But when you think about it, the kid is probably right; the tiger PROBABLY won’t be able to get to us, but if he does… TIGER.
This brings us to the cautionary tale of “The Master,” (aka @jimmyob88) a troll who trolled the wrong dude. After professional boxer Curtis Woodhouse lost a fight, our internet tough guy started to taunt the ACTUAL tough guy, saying things like (edits mine):
@woodhousecurtis Haha u lost u silly mug fight a 10 year old next time if u want to actually win u waste of [reproductive fluids]
— the master (@jimmyob88) March 11, 2013
Random internet dude taunts athlete. Shocking news. But wait, who left the door to the tiger cage open?
Someone told Woodhouse who Jimmy was, and more importantly, where he lived. Now, to be clear, I am not advocating vigilante justice. I am not advocating vigilante justice. I am not… okay, screw it. Vigilante justice please. The best part was that Woodhouse live-tweeted his journey of impending doom:
HEY THERE, KITTY KITTY. It was at this point, when this dude saw a picture of his own street sign that our troll friend decided, “maybe I should apologize.”
@woodhousecurtis i am sorry its getting abit out of hand i am in the wrong i accept that
— the master (@jimmyob88) March 11, 2013
The lessons here are pretty clear. Sure, you probably shouldn’t troll athletes for all the usual reasons (it’s an immature thing to do, it reflects poorly on you and the things you support, it can come back to bite you professionally, it’s intrusive on people who are simply trying to do their jobs, blah blah blah), but also because they might show up at your door feelin’ all punchy.
Then again, if you have a raw steak you can throw at them, they might get distracted.
NFL free agency began this week, which is ESPN’s signal to remove Adam Schefter from his undersea lair and unleash him Kraken-like upon the sports world. Schefter does a great job, and has sources in every conceivable corner of professional football. ESPN, though, may have taken their Schefter love a bit too far:
That’s an hour-by-hour count of how many tweets Schefter sent on Tuesday. It’s not about WHAT he was tweeting, but was instead about how MUCH he was tweeting. Now, I didn’t see the segment, so I have no idea what point they were trying to make, but I have some guesses:
- “As you can see, a bunch of interesting stuff happened in the NFL during the 3:00 hour.”
- “Once Schefter stopped live-tweeting ‘Dr. Phil‘, he sent out a bunch of good NFL-related info.”
- “NUMBERS DON’T LIE. HERE ARE SOME NUMBERS.”
- “Is Schefter still elite? Or is he coasting based on his 3:00 success?”
- “Look, we have 24 hours to fill on each of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNNEWS, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN Classic. YOU try to do that without resorting to crap like this.”
Speaking of the Worldwide Leader…
Last week there was a dumbass segment on ESPN First Take. They call the segment “ESPN First Take.” It was a ‘debate’ between Skip Bayless and Richard Sherman, and it was everything you have come to expect from that. I don’t want to poison your mind with the stupid, but if you really want to watch it, click here but do not click there. Bill Simmons, who is an ESPN employee, took to Twitter to declare his displeasure:
ESPN responded with their usual easy-going attitude about criticism, by which I mean that according to Deadspin they suspended Simmons from Twitter for a couple of days. This is apparently not the first time they’ve done this to Simmons.
So yeah, ESPN gave one of their biggest names a time-out for sassing. No word on whether Simmons was made to write statements on a blackboard or sit in a corner to think about what he’s done. They can’t confront Simmons about it because that would make it a bigger story, and because Simmons was right. They can’t AGREE with Simmons, because that would mean starting a conflict with Skip Bayless and OH MY GOD STOP GIVING SKIP BAYLESS THINGS TO TALK ABOUT THAT ARE ABOUT SKIP BAYLESS. I suppose their other option would be to just shrug and move on with life, but that was… unlikely. So they needed to do something, and they decided to go with a petty slap on the wrist.
But does it strike me as really petty and pointless to take away one communication medium from a guy who has as many platforms of communication as Simmons. It also seems really stupid to piss off Simmons, who is one of the less scoffed-at figures in the ESPN empire. They’re down to very few “personalities” who aren’t openly scorned by everyone not employed by ESPN. Take a look at this list of “commentators” and count the people aren’t absolutely terrible. Now tell me they can afford to lose Simmons.
Pot, Meet Kettle
Drake Harris shocked the college recruiting world recently when he announced that he was decommitting from Michigan State. As expected, a number of people took this news not so well. One in particular, though, caught my eye (since deleted):
If this Drake Harris kid decommits from MSU and goes to #scUM he better keep his ass out of East Lansing. #chump
~Brian Linthicum (@B_Linthicum88)
Okay, dumbass 14-year-olds and random unbalanced folks I can understand. They don’t see these recruits as human beings, but rather as abstract star-ratings on a recruiting board. What I can’t understand is a former football player not “getting it.” He’s been through this process. He knows what it’s like to not be sure about your school choice. And do you know how I know that? BECAUSE BRIAN LINTHICUM TRANSFERED SCHOOLS AFTER HIS FRESHMAN YEAR. He started at Clemson, but then transferred to Michigan State. And now Drake Harris is a “chump” because he chose one school and then changed his mind?
Well There’s Your Problem
The Battle Creek Revolution, a Junior A team in the NA3HL, did not have a good year. They finished 7-38-1-2 and were outscored by about a billion goals (by my read of the stats, they gave up more GOALS than their team had POINTS. That’s… yowza). Well, the team’s official Twitter account wants you to know why:
Now, this is Junior A hockey. And it’s hockey. Of course the players are getting drunk and high. But could a team really get 7-38 high? How much weed do you have to smoke as a team to rack up a –571? There’s “hung over,” and then there’s “started 0-25 hung over.”
Weekly Jose Canseco Update
I’d say something, but I’m afraid Canseco would drive to my house.
So there's this.
Screening. Very cool article from Mike Rothstein on the increasing use of ball screens and pick-and-roll in college basketball going all the way back to the days when LaVall Jordan was helping run it at Butler. It comes complete with pithy epigram:
The ball screen forces defenses to choose where they want to recover.
John Beilein has started using it frequently, getting Jordan Morgan a wide array of dunks and others various open shots—I wonder if that's Jordan's influence? Here is where we compare and contrast Beilein's program reboot after last season with Rodriguez's defensive flailing. [comparison] [sadness/frustration] [basketball team swept state] [woo]
Literally less than nothing. I was away when SI came out with a story about college football criminals heavy on the research and light on the context. The blogosphere duly blew it up. I'm with Braves & Birds in that I'd rather have a big media organization doing research instead of, you know, not doing it, but I'm also with Orson when he rips it. Two main takeaways:
- Journalists are terrible with numbers. It's appalling. I bet there isn't a journalism program in the country that requires a statistics course. They are the equivalent of dog groomers once you bring out a decimal point.
- Journalists will not stand for doing a lot of research and declaring "nothing to see here."
SI found nothing but still made the monkey dance:
Of those seven percent, "nearly 60 percent…were guilty or paid some penalty". If we assume "nearly 60 percent" means 57% (shockingly, the actual numbers and survey methods aren’t given), then 4% of players on top 25 football teams have been actually convicted of, or plead guilty to, a crime.
The number of average college students with the same criminal record? According to this article from Corvallis, Oregon’s Daily Barometer, 3.45%. That’s right: Your typical college football player is one-half of one percent more likely to have a criminal conviction. To put that in perspective, a team of 85 players has half a person more convicted criminals on it than a sample of 85 students drawn randomly. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife.
"Nothing" is actually generous. Consider that the kids on college football teams are disproportionately male (duh), black (45% as of 2006), and poor (presumably, right?) and that male, black, and/or poor groups tend to have more criminal activity. SI really discovered that putting someone on a college football team is a good way to keep them out of trouble. Which, duh. You're giving them something to lose.
Braves & Birds criticizes a lack of "solutions" in the SI problem, but how do you solve the opposite of a problem? (Other than hire Greg Robinson.)
BONUS: Remember the Free Press going ape that Michigan didn't do a juvenile background check on Demar Dorsey? Yeah…
…when the nut graf of the piece mentions that only two out of 25 programs conduct background checks on their incoming recruits, there's two instances of serious slippage here. First, programs probably don't do them out of negligence and cost, not because they know that juvenile records searches are sketchy business at best. Second, they assume this means anything when they also write this in the middle of the piece:
Nor did SI and CBS News have access to juvenile arrest records for roughly 80 percent of the players in the study.
The issue of background checks for most recruits in most states is dead before you finish the first page of the article.
BTW, Feldman's latest features a bunch of quotes($) from coaches and administrators citing the same problems bloggers did.
The way it had to end. MSU's hockey team did get swept in Fairbanks, ending Rick Comley's career, but it wasn't easy. Both games went to overtime. On Friday Michigan State had a potential game-winner ruled out and suffered a seemingly controversial UAs game winner. This caused an epic fit of bitching on MSU player twitter feeds—Derek Grant hashtagged "awful," "embarrassing," and "disgraceful" in a single tweet—that suggested Comley had complained to his players about the call in the locker room. The disgraceful event: the MSU net lifted up momentarily but was settled on its moorings before the shot was taken.
MSU's season ended the next night with another overtime goal, and thus ends Rick Comley's career. That's karma. This is something beyond it:
Michigan State hockey head coach Rick Comley reportedly was involved in a physical confrontation Friday night in the Carlson Center with Alaska Nanooks fans Robert Downes, a Fairbanks Superior Court judge, and his daughter, attorney Amy Tallerico. …
Downes, during a telephone interview Saturday, said he talked to Comley after the game. “It was a comment on his complaining about every goal that was scored,” Downes said.
The confrontation reportedly turned physical and Tallerico allegedly was struck. Speaking Saturday night, Tallerico said they exchanged shoves. Her father said she filed a complaint with the CCHA.
I'm not inclined to believe a random fan who dispenses frontier justice over Comley—never been anything but stonefaced in my experience—but for Comley to get into a confrontation with a fan in the last weekend of his career is a weird echo of the Kampfer incident that was the beginning of his end. May it haunt his dreams.
Meanwhile. Other than State getting swept it was a bad week for Michigan on the TUC cliff. OSU and NMU both lost, ending their seasons. Michigan's 5-1 record against them is now gone. Compounding matters, NMU's loss against BGSU sends the Falcons to Yost for a second-round series that can't do much to help Michigan. Sweeping gets them .001 for their RPI.
mfan_in_ohio broke down the comparisons in a diary bumped yesterday, but a brief recap:
- Michigan is still the last one-seed but lost a comparison against UNO. That will be tough to get back unless Bemidji State starts winning games.
- Denver lost over the weekend, keeping them behind M. Michigan can probably stay in front of them by doing at least as well as they do but pulling BGSU complicates things. Denver has a much better opponent this weekend and could pass Michigan in RPI if they win the WCHA.
- Any chance of stealing the BC comparison is gone after the Eagles swept UNH.
- Miami will be dangerously close to passing M if they sweep this weekend but since one or the other will have to lose it's kind of a moot point.
- Ferris is safe as a TUC.
- Lake State can become a TUC by beating ND.
In simple terms, if Michigan wins the CCHA they will very probably be the last one-seed. If they don't they'll be a two.
More dudes. A local newspaper article on 2013 commit Tyler Motte lists offer-type substances:
Motte committed recently to the University of Michigan, choosing the Wolverines over Miami (Ohio), Ferris State, Western Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State.
It's even more difficult to sort fiction from reality when it comes to college hockey offers since their recruiting cycle is so accelerated, but Miami was Motte's "second choice" so that's probably legit. They're a good team to snatch a recruit from. Knock on wood, but Motte does not sound like he'll give the OHL half a thought. Backing that up: his older brother is ticketed for Ferris.
Michigan continued its run of getting commits from kids who will hit campus after the Mayan apocalypse with 2013's Alex Talcott, a teammate of Alex Kile on Honeybaked's U18 midget major team. He had an 0-10-10 line at the recent Select 15 camp and was the seventh-best forward there according to USHR. All they said was "good hands," though. Michigan Hockey Net has a full googlestalk of Talcott waiting for you; FWIW, The Scouting News claims he's an NTDP "cinch."
This is a bit convoluted. But Simmons's latest column on the NFL is a compelling takedown of the sort of shortsighted thinking that plagues NFL owners specifically and, more generally, anyone who is obsessed with getting the highest Financial Oligarch Pacman score at the expense of the future. That people like Daniel Snyder and Dan Gilbert can own incredibly expensive sports franchises is a condemnation of the whole system. If those comic-sans-deploying, Mark-Shapiro-hiring idiots can make billions of dollars just so they can prove their ineptness in games with a score the idea this is a meritocracy is fanciful, isn't it?
Etc.: Yost introduces $38 "all you can eat" seats. Seriously. Red Berenson will be honored by the Blues today. All Big Ten teams from UMHoops; Morris second, Hardaway third, Morgan and Hardaway all-frosh. Kellen Russell wins a Big Ten championship in wrestling. Even tackles can be too tall.
Explicit Georgia. Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity mentioned that his school wouldn't oversign a couple weeks ago but didn't go nearly as far as Florida's Bernie Machen, who called grayshirting and whatnot "reprehensible." You can't get away with that in the media, however, and after further questioning he laid it down:
First-year UGA athletics director Greg McGarity is strongly opposed to the practice of oversigning football prospects and in favor of legislation to help curtail such activity among SEC institutions.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” McGarity told Dawgs247 this week … According to McGarity, “I think it will be a topic for discussion (at SEC meetings) in Destin this year.”
“I think you will see controls in place,” McGarity said. “Now what that model will look like will be determined later — sooner than later. … I think you’ll see it being dealt with at the conference level much like the Big Ten (Conference) deals with it currently.”
Wow: someone in the SEC suggesting the Big Ten model in anything is worthwhile. Mike Slive is squinting at whichever wall faces the general direction of Athens right now, trying to burn a hole through it with his mind.
Get The Picture suggests that McGarity's optimism that something will get done is probably foolish since eight SEC schools have a vested interest in the ability to "sign half the world in February." He's right, but adding a second SEC athletic director to the chorus of people saying Something Must Be Done is getting close to critical mass. If the SEC isn't willing to do something about it, maybe the NCAA will.
In conclusion, the SEC is a terrible basketball conference.
Excellent decision. Score one for Brady Hoke:
"I'm not a big fan (of Twitter) at all," he said.
Asked if he would join other "cool" coaches who maintain Twitter accounts to keep fans abreast of what's happening in their program, Hoke said he won't join in.
"I'm not cool," he said. "I've never tried to be cool."
No coach* who has tried to be cool on twitter has succeeded in making their exclamation-filled (or, in the case of Charlie Weis, sober, book-length-Bon-Jovi-concert-memoir-filled) twitter account anything better than mildly embarrassing. If you don't speak the language it's better not to try.
*[Head coach. Assistants are fine. Bacari Alexander's cult of #HALOL is going swimmingly.]
Mount Godin settles down. It's a long time until Tim's next recruiting update so a small update on MI DT Matt Godin, who said something to the effect that he was "done with Michigan" in an article on Rivals. Godin immediately sought to clarify/explain/disclaim the quote with Tom. His brother signed up* here to explain, as well:
Matthew is a very competitive person, and he is frustrated because the new staff has not shown any interest in him despite the fact that he is regularly hearing from many other top programs.
Knowing Matthew's personality, I specifically told him not to say anything negative about any school because I knew some of the reporters would try to elicit such comments. I am very frustrated and disappointed that he did not heed my advice, but he has tried to rectify the situation as best he can by clarifying things with Tom. My parents, my sisters and I have all spoken with Matthew today, and we are disappointed in his lack of maturity and composure.
Each day, Matthew is asked my fellow students at school why Michigan has not offered him, and he constantly has correspondents from recruiting websites asking him about the issue. I can see why he is frustrated, but I do not condone his behavior.
Matthew's dream is to play college football, and he has been a UM fan since he was a child. Both my father and my sister graduated from UM, and I am currently finishing medical school at the University of Michigan. We would love to see Michigan offer him. However, if the coaching staff does not find him to be a good fit, then it's not meant to be. He is extremely blessed to have his current offers, and I know that he will excel wherever he goes. Go blue!
Godin already has Northwestern and Michigan State offers, so there's a good chance that if he's patient the coaches will offer him.
*[His email address checks out in the UM directory, FWIW.]
Bill Simmons image rehab: complete? Hey, remember three years ago when everyone hated Bill Simmons? I spent some time echoing the zeitgeist so I could say he's still way better than Drew Sharp in 2008. It's not like I didn't understand why people were turning on him—even my defense was maybe two-thirds-hearted. The backlash was met with mild push-back along the lines of what I wrote and it seemed that everyone had settled on the idea that Simmons was old and tired and had lost his fastball.
Then he organized and produced 30 for 30, a series that probably claims 30 of the top 50 sports documentaries of all time. He did this on ESPN, a channel that thinks Stephen A. Smith is a good idea to re(!)-hire. Now even people who blame him for all the Affleck movies about Boston* have to admit that The Two Escobars was awesome and The Ocho seems like way less of a bad idea than it did five years ago.
Presenting sort of the Ocho:
ESPN Gives Web Star Bill Simmons His Own Site
by Peter Kafka
Here’s Bill Simmons’ reward for sticking with ESPN: His own piece of turf, where the star columnist/multimedia experimenter can cultivate a new sports/pop culture site.
Simmons already has his own page on ESPN.com, but this is something much more ambitious, with a dedicated staff and a roster of contributing writers. If you were in Web publishing, you might call it a “vertical”. The rest of you might call it a digital magazine.
He's hiring 8-12 people and the thing sounds like something totally different than a newspaper—the sort of thing Fanhouse probably should have been. Klosterman is on board. It's described as a "sports/literary" website, which kind of sounds like The Run Of Play with more Karate Kid and fewer Baudrillard references. Quickish—the new thing Dan Shanoff is doing—has more details and analysis. He's enthusiastic about it. So am I.
Detroit City. (This is irrelevant but one of the Michigan Ultras posted in the comments so there's your tangent.) The Lions In Winter has a great post with lots of original reporting about the guys who bought the Silverdome and are trying to bring an MLS team to Detroit. Their plans are outlandish. I really hope they come off.
There is discussion of a name in the comments; my two cents: it must be Detroit City, and the crest should be a rock, and people should abbreviate them "DRC," and nothing else is acceptable. Here's this thing you can sign on the internet:
Comments that uselessly say soccer sucks will be met by hellacious point drainage.