Saturday, September 17, 2016

Bill Buckner catches everything in his MLB Network ad with Mookie Wilson

We're just over a month away from the 30-year anniversary of the most horrific sports moment of my childhood:

Amazingly, I only needed to type the words "it gets" into YouTube in order to find Vin Scully's famous call of "Behind the bag, it get's through Buckner!":

It's also been nearly 12 years since the baseball world changed forever, allowing Bill Buckner and the rest of the 1986 Red Sox to live in peace.  Considering that, amusement is the only emotion I feel towards this MLB Network commercial with Buckner and Mookie Wilson:

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wait, finger skateboarding is a real sport?

Apparently it's called "fingerboarding," which just sounds inappropriate to me.

I feel as though it would be really easy to cheat at this sport if you wanted to--maybe some stickum on your fingers, or a tiny magnet on the bottom of your board.  I wonder if they have anybody checking for that?  It'd be pretty awful to be the guy who got caught cheating at fingerboarding.

H/T @altschuller

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Porcellometer update: Cy Young odds increase despite loss (his first this year at Fenway)

Rick Porcello suffered his first home defeat of the season last night.  However, his Cy Young chances actually increased in the process and the totally subjective Porcellometer rose from 64 percent to 71 percent.  Here's why: Porcello's win-loss record is not an issue, it's far and away the best in the league.  However, with his eight-inning, four-hit, one-run, zero-walk performance yesterday, he now owns the AL's best WHIP (1.00) and his ERA dropped from 3.21 to 3.12.

Multiple people have mentioned that I'm ignoring Orioles closer Zach Britton (0.83 WHIP, 0.61 ERA) who shut down the Red Sox yesterday for his 43rd save of the season--in 43 opportunities.  While zero blown saves is extremely impressive, it's incredibly hard to justify giving the Cy Young Award to someone who's thrown only 59.1 innings (just 29 percent of Porcello's total).  Also, consider this: Britton has yielded 18 walks in those 59.1 innings, while Porcello has walked just 29 batters over his 201.2 innings.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Introducing the [Rick] Porcellometer

For any loyal readers who remember the Celtics Tankometer in 2014, or the [Tim] Tebometer from 2011, I now give you the Porcellometer.

Pronounce it pour-sell-ah-met-er, like thermometer (not Porcello-meter).  I've created it to portray my best guess at Rick Porcello's odds of winning the American League Cy Young.  It's not a prediction of how likely I think he is to get the award, but rather what I believe his chances would be if it was handed out today--which in the first-ever addition of the Porcellometer is 64 percent.

It's a four-horse race at the moment (see above ESPN screenshot), with the main thing Porcello has working against him being his low strikeout total.  However, he's also walked so few batters (an average of exactly one per start) that he still owns the best strikeout/walk ratio in the league.  Combined with having four more wins than any of the other contenders, that makes him the clear favorite.

Porcello goes for an MLB-best 21st victory tonight against the Orioles.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An early look at 2016-17 college basketball national championship odds

The college basketball season doesn't begin until mid-November, but that doesn't mean it's too early to bet on who might take home the national title next March.  The following futures numbers are all from 2016/17 NCAA basketball betting in William Hill.  Here are the favorites, plus teams I like, don't like, or just find generally noteworthy based on their odds:

Duke, 7/2: The Blue Devils lost the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Brandon Ingram, but they're getting the potential No. 1 selection in the 2017 draft, Harry Giles.  Betting on the favorite is rarely a good idea in college hoops, particularly when the odds aren't that rewarding at 7/2.

Kentucky, 9/1: The Wildcats have the No. 1 recruiting class in the country according to ESPN Insider, just ahead of Duke.  Could an all-freshman starting lineup take them to a title?  My guess is no.

Kansas, 12/1: The Jayhawks round out the trio schools you always expect to see as preseason favorites.  Kansas brings back a large portion of the squad that went to the Elite Eight last March.

Oregon, 14/1:  Oregon?  The Ducks have the fourth-best championship odds in the country?  They won the Pac 12 last season and earned a No. 1 seed in the big dance, and this year they'll return four of five starters.

North Carolina, 16/1: It wouldn't be a college basketball season if the Tar Heels weren't among the top betting choices.

Michigan Sate, 18/1: The Spartans make it five of six teams you could put at the top of this list without even looking at the rosters.  Michigan State also pulled in the third-best freshman class after Duke and Kentucky.

Villanova, 18/1: Repeat champs seems to come along once a decade, dating back to UCLA's domination in the 1970s--North Carolina 1982-83, Duke 1991-92 and Florida 2006-07.  Could it be 'Nova's turn now?

UConn, 50/1: I love Connecticut at 50/1.  Nobody expected the 2014 Shabazz Napier or the 2011 Kemba Walker Huskies to bring home the title.

Gonzaga, 66/1: Kelly Olynyk's alma mater, first put on the map by John Stockton, fell to Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen last year.  The Bulldogs lost big man Domantas (son of Arvydas) Sabonis to the NBA.

Butler, 125/1: Brad Stevens coached Butler to back-to-back title games in 2010-11, one of the most amazing stories in sports history.  These Bulldogs played Virginia tough in the second round of the 2016 tourney.

Michigan, 125/1: The Wolverines return seniors Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton to a team that nearly upset Notre Dame, who made the Elite Eight.  With odds on par with mid-major schools like Butler, Michigan is not a bad bet at 125/1.

Monmouth, 1000/1: The Hawks, located in West Long Branch New Jersey, won last year's regular-season title in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.  Monmouth's undergraduate enrollment is roughly 4,400, a fun long shot at 1000/1.  On the other hand...

Rutgers, 1000/1: The state university of New Jersey, enrollment 33,000, plays in the Big 10 conference and has the same title odds as Monmouth.  Yikes.  That's only slightly less pathetic than...

Boston College, 2000/1: The Eagles just made major college sports history by going winless in ACC conference play in both basketball and football in the same year.  There are no teams on the board with longer odds than BC.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The bizarre September 11 connection between Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the NFL postponed its games the following weekend.  The Patriots returned to the field on September 23 against the New York Jets.  New England trailed 10-3 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Mo Lewis delivered that fateful hit on Drew Bledsoe.  It was in that moment that Tom Brady's NFL legacy began (sidebar--I can't help but wonder, if September 11th had never happened, is it possible Tom Brady would've never become Tom Brady?).

Fast forward 15 years later, will September 11, 2016 go down as the day Jimmy Garoppolo's career truly began?  After he worked out his "Holy $#!&, I'm starting an NFL game" jitters on the very first play (in which he air-mailed Chris Hogan)...

...I don't think I would've noticed the difference if that'd been Garoppolo out there in a Brady jersey.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Awesome Old TV Clips of the Week: Jon Stewart and David Letterman post 9/11

Fifteen years ago this morning, I was cutting limes at the Navigator Restaurant in Edgartown when my boss said "Turn on the TV, a plane just crashed into a building in New York City."

It was the strangest day I've ever had behind the bar.  The place was packed, but nobody was eating or drinking.  Everyone was just standing there, staring at the televisions in a state of shock and horror.  In particular, I remember three men from New York who worked in the towers but had taken a few days off to come to Martha's Vineyard.

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