Saturday, May 14, 2016

The 40-year-old allegedly retiring David Ortiz is the American League MVP so far

In the Red Sox's 6-5 extra-inning win this afternoon, David Ortiz tied the game with a two-out triple in the ninth, then won it in his next at-bat with a double in the 11th--again with two outs (not to mention he also homered back in the third inning).  The walk-off hit was the 600th double of his career, which put Big Papi in some pretty exclusive company:

The greatest designated hitter of all time is 40 years old and supposedly retiring at the end of the season.  The thing is, through 37 games (nearly 25 percent of the season) for the 23-14 Red Sox, Ortiz is most likely the MVP of the American League.

Here are some of Ortiz's stats, followed by where each ranks in the AL:

Batting average: .320 (10th)
Doubles: 16 (2nd)
Home runs: 10 (4th, tied)
RBI: 33 (1st, tied)
On-base percentage: .405 (4th, tied)
Slugging percentage: .695 (1st)
OPS (on-base plus slugging): 1.101 (1st)

There are three Potential American League MVP candidates at the moment:

David Ortiz, Red Sox (23-14): .320, 16 2B, 10 HR, 33 RBI, .405 OBP, .695 SLG, 1.101 OPS
Manny Machado, Orioles (22-12): .350, 15 2B, 10 HR, 23 RBI, .405 OBP, .671 SLG, 1.077 OPS
Robinson Cano, Mariners (21-14): .299, 8 2B, 12 HR, 33 RBI, .344 OBP, .599 SLG, .943 OPS

Ortiz has a big lead over Machado in RBI, a much higher average and on-base percentage than Cano, and is ahead of both of them in slugging and OPS.  If the award was chosen today, he'd be the guy.

Big Papi sent this tweet the other day when Stephen Curry unanimously won the NBA MVP:

The way things are going, Curry may not be the only 2016 MVP in that picture.

Friday, May 13, 2016

It's Gronk's world and we're all just living in it

Yesterday, the news broke that Rob Gronkowski will be on the cover of EA Sports' Madden NFL '17 video game...

...AND the cover of the June edition of GQ Magazine.

Again, both announcements came yesterday.

Gronk is the first Patriots player (and the first NFL tight end) ever featured on the Madden game box.

On the other hand, Tom Brady has graced the front page of GQ many times (at least five, by my count).

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Crazy stats for Red Sox's dominant offense, surprisingly led by Jackie Bradley Jr.

At 21-13, the Red Sox have the same record through 34 games that the 2013 World Series champs did.  They're doing it with offense.  Lots of offense.  Boston just swept a three-game series from the A's by the scores of 14-7, 13-5 and 13-3.

The Sox have scored 196 total runs, 30 more than any other American League team (the Cubs lead the NL with 196 as well).  Boston's .293 team batting average is 15 points higher than the next best in MLB, the Pirates' .278.  It shows in the individual AL leaders as well:

Perhaps the best way to sum it up is to point out that Jackie Bradley Jr. (pictured), who's tied for eighth in the league in batting with David Ortiz and owns the second longest hitting streak in baseball this season (17 games), is Boston's No. 9 hitter.

This Vine doesn't relate to any of the above stats in particular, but it's generally relevant and I just think it's cool:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I don't trust this Robo Twist jar opener for one second

I think my main motivation for writing this blog is just to give you a chance to watch the incredible interaction between the old woman and the body-builder guy at the 36-second mark of the ad (and pictured above):

Having said that, I'm also fairly certain I could never use a Robo Twist without feeling completely terrified that the jar would explode and spray tomato sauce/pickle juice and tiny glass shards all over my kitchen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Stephen Curry makes the unbelievable believable

Earlier today, Stephen Curry became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history:

However, what Curry did last night may be even more impressive (unfortunately much of the country was asleep long before his overtime heroics took place around 1:30 a.m. Eastern).  In his first game back from a knee injury, the plan was for Curry to play roughly 25 minutes off the bench.

The Warriors had just two points halfway through the first quarter, and they trailed Portland 16-2 when Steph checked in at the 5:58 mark.

His presence on the floor helped rally his ballclub, but the reigning-MVP was noticeably rusty.  He air-balled his first three-pointer, badly.  In fact, Curry missed his first nine three-point attempts.  When backup point guard Shaun Livingston (who started in Curry's place) was ejected for arguing with the referee late in the second quarter, the game plan for limiting Steph's minutes went out the window (he ended up logging 37).

Curry finally connected on his first three of the night with just 4:35 to go in regulation to put his club up 103-100.  Before that bucket, he had 17 points on 8-for-20 shooting (0-of-9 from deep) through the game's first 43+ minutes.  Here's what Steph did over the last 9:35 of regulation and overtime: 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting, 5-of-7 from beyond the arc (some of which were absolutely ridiculous, see the clip below).  As soon as he hit that first trey, Curry was back:

He finished with 40 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in Golden State's 132-125 OT victory.  In addition to posting the most prolific overtime period of all time (17 points)--regular season or playoffs--Curry also accomplished each of the following:

- First player other than LeBron James with a 40-9-8 stat line in the playoffs since Shaquille O'Neal in 2002.
- First player in the Basketball-Reference database (which goes back to 1984) to put up those numbers in the postseason off the bench.
- Just the second player since 1984 to score 40 as a reserve in a playoff game (along with Nick Van Exel in 2003).

Now here's why I titled this post the way I did: While watching the end of the fourth quarter and OT, nothing Curry did surprised me.  Once he got hot, I legitimately expected all of his bombs to drop.

No one has ever been as good at basketball as Steph Curry is right now.  He makes the unbelievable believable.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ray Lewis reportedly out at ESPN - Finally!

According to USA Today's The Big Lead, Ray Lewis is reportedly "on the way out" at ESPN.  I'd like to think this represents the network finally correcting a mistake it never should've made in the first place when it hired Lewis as an NFL analyst shortly after his retirement from football in 2013.

It blows my mind that ESPN (and anyone, for that matter) was able to overlook the role he played in that double-homicide in January of 2000.  My guess is, if social media had existed back then Lewis' entire NFL career never would've happened (a few security cameras outside of the Cobalt Lounge nightclub likely could've kept him out of the league as well).

Yet somehow people magically forgot (or ignored) what he did, and he had a three-year run of saying stupid things on television.

Hopefully I'll never have to see his face in my living room again.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Memo to ESPN: Bar graphs don't work for everything

This tweet came before Game 3 of the Cavaliers-Hawks series:

One, I can't for the life of me figure out why they decided that sentence needed a graphic.  It's pretty self-explanatory.  Two, why is there any blue in the "0" section?  And three, how did they determine how tall to make the "16" bar with nothing to make it proportional too?

I can't decide if this one is worse than the SportsCenter bar graph I wrote about three years ago that plotted Brittney Griner's game with two dunks opposite every other WNBA game ever (the ones that didn't have two dunks).

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