Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday 06/01 A.M. Quickie:
Billy Donovan Bolts, LeBron James Rules

Yes, I know LeBron deserves top-billing today, but for personal reasons I simply can't bump the Billy Donovan story beneath today's lead item...

Billy Donovan leaves the Florida Gators and college basketball for the Orlando Magic and the NBA. I tried to sort out my many thoughts on it, but they still come out in a jumble of half-thoughts (oh, and in Deadspin guest-posts on the topic)...

*After winning two national titles, Billy has earned the cred to do whatever the hell he wants without Florida fans feeling bitter. I appreciate the "what more can he accomplish" thing, but I have an answer: Perennial national-title contender and a place in the Rushmore of college hoops coaching, which he was on pace to earn.

*I appreciate the money factor, but is $5.5 million really that much more than the $4-plus million Florida would have paid him? Oh, and he would have been the highest-paid coach in college hoops. I hope money wasn't a real factor in his decision-making. Easy for me to say, I know, but still: It's not like he wasn't going to get paid staying in college.

*I respect the fact that he sees coaching in the NBA as a "challenge," but I just don't see the lure (if you take out the money). Coaching in the NBA kind of sucks. Unless you luck into a Jordan/Pippen or Shaq/Kobe (Phil Jackson) or a Duncan (G. Popovich), the best you can do – the best! – is be the next Jerry Sloan, who is best-known for (a) homophobia and (b) not winning an NBA title. I'm curious to see whether Billy's style -- which was a perfect fit for the college game -- translates at all. And, even if it does, if he derives the same joy from it.

(Now, that said: If you were going to join an NBA team, it doesn't hurt to have your centerpiece player be the best post player in the East. Given a little better supporting talent – no, NOT Vince Carter – Dwight Howard could make the Magic a perennial contender for an East title. By the way, I loathe to say it, but JJ Redick is the big winner here. Donovan will have that guy jacking 3s all night.)

To summarize: I get that the money was sick. I get that he had little left to truly prove in college. I get that he was intrigued by the new challenge, particularly with an emerging big man to work with as a cornerstone. I get that, of any NBA job, one geographically closest to his family was the most ideal.

But I go back to what he has built at Florida – and what was on the horizon. And I go back to this idea that Donovan realistically was on track to join Wooden, Knight, Smith and Krzyzewski on the Mount Rushmore of college coaching.

To walk away from that? Wow. I wouldn't. I wish him the best, but I won't be surprised if he's back in college by 2012 (in my nightmares, taking over the reins at Duke from a retiring Coach K).

Who should the Gators get to replace Donovan? To me, the answer is easy: VCU's Anthony Grant. He was Donovan's lead assistant for the first title team. He knows the system and the players and the Florida community. And his "only" one year of head-coaching experience is mitigated by the fact that he did such an amazing job in that one year. Grant could keep Larry Shyatt as the top assistant, keep PG recruit Jai Lucas from bolting to Kentucky and extend Donovan's tradition. (Gators fans, please stop talking about Rick Barnes and John Calipari. Please.)

LeBron Rules: OK, LeBron has re-asserted himself as the uber-star of the playoffs. And he might have just single-handedly saved the NBA Playoffs. He put the Cavs on his back and put on one of the single-greatest one-man shows in NBA Playoffs history.

48 points (29 of the Cavs' final 30 points!) leading Cleveland to a double-OT win over the Pistons in Detroit to take a 3-2 series lead.

(Now: As experts throw out that "85 percent of teams that win Game 5 in series tied 2-2 win the series," consider that the Cavs were up 3-2 on Detroit a year ago before dropping the final two games. But last year, the Cavs – and LeBron himself – were far less tested. This year? He is willing it to happen.)

There were a lot of questions about LeBron's willingness to dominate throughout this season, these playoffs and even the early games of this series. No more: Last night, LeBron transformed into Optimus Prime.

Spelling Bee: Evan O'Dorney is your champ, though you might not have known it from his less-than-enthusiastic reaction. It wasn't stunned silence; it was matter-of-fact... even boredom. I'm not sure you'll ever see a champ crowned – in ANY competition – with less enthusiasm than O'Dorney showed.

(I have to admit: He made me wonder if perhaps the flip-side to his savant-level abilities in math, music and – obviously – spelling, he has a wee bit of a personality disorder. I guess they might go hand-in-hand. I don't say that in any way to mock him or be cruel; I actually felt a little bad for him that he seemed to find little joy in the accomplishment. I did, however, find it amusing that his understated demeanor totally threw off Stuart Scott in the post-win interview session.)

(By the way, I was so happy to be proven wrong about Mike and Mike's participation at the Bee. First, they treated the event with the earnest dignity it deserves. Second, I had presumed they would be the lead broadcast team. ABC was much better off playing it straight with the team of the excellent Robin Roberts and whoever that Bee analyst was.)

Oh, and don't forget to check out the Bee's All-Name Team, courtesy of Name of the Year.

MLB Stud: Roy Halladay, wins 100th career game and blanks the White Sox in his return from the DL. Welcome back to the AL East's best pitcher.

MLB Dud: Jason Giambi, who went to the DL with arch problems. Yes, if "arch problems" means "looming slap-down from MLB over 'roids." (Could miss a month, though speculation is that it could run even longer.)

Yankees-Red Sox: Ugh... again? Take a swig every time Clemens' name comes up.

MLB Trade: Armando Benitez shipped from the Giants to the Marlins. I'm not sure there's a more frustrating closer in baseball in the last decade. Anyone whose team has used Benitez can understand that.

NFL: Concussions linked to depression. That makes the league's new, seemingly sincere effort to manage its concussion epidemic all the more important.

Vick Watch: The prosecutor says informants link Vick to dog-fighting, which sports fans already knew from intrepid reporting by ESPN and SI. The question is whether merely being indicted (not convicted or even prosecuted) will trigger a suspension from NFL Commissioner Roger "Get-Tough" Goodell.

Trent Green Watch: I think the Dolphins will eventually get him. Man, how stupid does Atlanta look now for trading away Matt Schaub? Joey Harrington can't possibly give fans any confidence.

T.O.: Dallas is assumed to give him his $3 million roster bonus today, keeping him on the team for 2007. Whee.

More NBA: The Suns are going to hire TV analyst Steve Kerr as President and GM. (Funny: He apparently didn't say a word about it during the Pistons-Cavs game last night. How freaking lame of him is THAT?)

Related: So when is a sports team going to hire a smart, businss-savvy blogger to run the show? No: Really.

Pacers hire Jim O'Brien: Yawn. Charter member of the NBA Coaching Recycling Program. Good luck to him when they ship out Jermaine O'Neal. You can already hear the players griping about O'Brien's heavy-handed style.

Kobe Drama: Notice how this story immediately fell off the radar as of last night? Thank god.

BCS Reform: I think the SEC presidents should do a live web-cast of Florida president Bernie Machen's presentation about creating a playoff.

Horse Racing: Street Sense won't race at Belmont, making the third leg of the Triple Crown even more irrelevant than it already was.

Tennis: Venus KO'ed at French Open. Eh: Ping me when Federer and Nadal meet in the men's final.

Golf: I don't care if Michelle Wie lied about her "wrist injury" to drop out of the Ginn Tribute before achieving the crappy score that would trigger the DQ rule that would keep her out of LPGA events for the rest of the season. She did the smart thing.

Athletes Who Blog: Welcome to the club, Kevin Youkilis (One of my favorite players, despite the fact he plays for the Red Sox. The overriding factor is that he plays for "my team," if you know what I'm saying. If you don't, then what I'm saying is that Youk is the rare Jewish Major Leaguer, and I root for all of them... especially the ones on pace to be All-Stars.)

Politics: One more reason to love Barack Obama? He's a pick-up basketball junkie. Check out this story.

Movies: "Knocked Up" is going to be the biggest comedy hit of the summer. And nothing else will be close.

-- D.S.


RT said...

R.I.P. Florida hoops. Hahahahaha!

Patriots64 said...

Is The Simpsons Movie considered a comedy or animation or both? Anyways it will blow Knocked Up away in ticket sales!!

Wow Lebron is all I can say, Magic or Jordanesque like performance!!

Sheldiz said...

how 'bout dem o's?

(its all relative, i know. but allow me to be happy for a moment.)

Unknown said...

I'm with p64. What about the simpsons movie, especially since all the original writers are back?

And I turned on Bron-Pistons right at the end of the 4th quarter and my jaw was on the floor by the 2nd OT. Remember kids, Jordan had Scottie and Horace (and later Dennis). Lebron didn't have anyone but himself and he stepped up.

As for Billy Donovan - stupid move. I don't care if he lasts his entire contract, he's a recruiter-type. Chance of winning a title with the Magic: Zero percent.

ib said...

"Optimus Prime"! When IS a sports player gonna adapt a version of that nickname? i was thinking that most players who'd grown up with the original Transformers are already of age, so if we hadn't heard that name yet, we never would. But there was that second version of the show (Beast Warriors?), so you never know...!

thistlewarrior said...

it is still possible, the new transformers movie is coming out July 4. Maybe that will bring OP back into the conciousness

Joey said...

Who cares about Billy Donovan? I know you are a Florida fan Dan, but Florida will be fine provided they get a solid replacement. The rep is there for Florida and basketball now. They will get guys to go there as long as they get a decent respected coach.

LeBron just continues to amaze me. This has been one of the best playoff series I have seen.

The heroin sheik said...

WTF the day before I move to Chicago from orlando Billy decides to come to O-town. This must only mean that he will fail horribly and I won't have to witness it up close. Either that or he will do a stellar job leading the Magic to a three peat and I won't be here to see it because that is how the gods work. Good riddance to this miserable town but I will miss gator, rays, ning, and bucs games. Thank god for the internet and dishes.

pv845 said...

So Dan, which team are you going to randomly latch onto now that UF has lost your boy Donovan and those wonderful players that act like babies half the time? Where did your brother (or sister) attend?

As for Lebron, great finish, but unless he finishes the Pistons it will all be for nothing. I know Cleveland will celebrate the finish no matter what, but people remember Championships and little else.

Did anyone see Steven A Smith after the Spurs game on ESPN or on Like the Spurs are scared of Lebron and the Cavs. I predict a sweep or at worst 4-1 series if they win. The Pistons match up better with the Spurs, but have looked horrible against the Cavs.

On a second note, anyone think the Pistons will fire Flip Saunders if they bow out? This seems very similar to the situation in which they canned Doug Collins a couple of years back.

Unknown said...

Lebron is amazing, I don't understand all the canadiens in our national spelling bee, Giambi needs to go, The Simpsons will be the biggest movie ever...Oh yeah, and Mike Montgomery should come in and coach the Gators

jhawkjjm said...

If Donovan fails in the NBA and returns to coach Northwestern, would you actually support your alma mater at that point?

Having to watch the Celtics suck since O'Brien left... I'd take him back in a second.

Chris said...


Something tells me you won't be so smug about Gator hoops in the future. Especially with Gillispie at UK (a team I loathe) I'm fairly confident the Gator hoops team will go back to second class citizens in the SEC. You know, Dan, there is an upside here for you. Since UF is taking a big hit, you can always start rooting for another big time program that you have no real attachment to. It isn't like you haven't done that before. I hear UCLA is going to be very good next year, isn't it about time for you to profess your Bruin love? You could always come up with a solid reason, something along the lines of, you have a friend who has a UCLA sweatshirt so you're a die-hard fan of them now. I mean you've jumped on a bandwagon in the past using similarly flimsy reasoning.

Matt T said...

Vick, who previously said he wasn't cutting his hair until they won the Super Bowl ditched the braids the other day.

He said he's turning over a new leaf.

The haircut will look nice when he's watching Joey Harrington from the bench.

Patriots64 said...

There are hockey players in the Spelling Bee!!!

Canadiens = NHL Franchise

Canadians = Residents of Canada


Brian in Oxford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian in Oxford said...

The things is, if we were allowed to get the feeds from YES or NESN during this upcoming Sox-Yanks series, the Clemens thing wouldn't be an issue. But you stick it on Fox or ESPN, and they can't help themselves from praising their own journalistic merits by beating the story to death. Ugh....

Was there a basketball game last night?

I'm a bit confused by the concept of non-Americans in the spelling bee, myself. Hey patriots64, is there a Canadian spelling bee that would honour Americans by letting us in? :)

Federer-Nadal is what we all we'd better get it. Lord knows we didn't get Dallas-Phoenix.

I'm not convinced Trent Green would be a real improvement over Culpepper.

And Dan, you're only predicting 5 more years of coach K? I would be stunned if Duke didn't stay in-house for the eventual successor, though.

Mark said...

My guess is a sports team will hire a smart, business-savvy blogger to run the show when they can spell business. I know, I know, just a typo, but still - the irony! Just busting your balls, Dan.

Mikepcfl said...

Benitez is the worst closer in history. I believe he still holds the record for the most post-season blown saves in history. Amazing since he hasnt been to the post-season that often. After the 1997 ALCS, when he was on the mound for 3 of the 4 Orioles' defeats, I screamed how I wanted a gun to shoot him as I left the stadium after Game 6.

Jen said...

Wow, Dan actually gave some positive attention to LeBron.

That finish was truly amazing. I hope the Cavs can finish them off tomorrow. I really don't care how badly the Spurs MAY beat the Cavs; I'll be happy if they make it that far.

It's an exciting weekend here again with a double-bill of Cleveland/Detroit sports. My high school alma mater is also in the baseball state championship game tomorrow night. I'm glad the Tribe plays tomorrow night because basketball stresses me out and I can't watch an entire game.

The Simpsons Movie is going to be the BEST.

I'm glad Donovan left UF. HAHAHAHA to them.

Vick cut his braids so he will look nice in front of the judge and jury.

We had a local kid in the Spelling Bee, but he was out in the first round (that was according to this morning's paper...I didn't watch a second of it)


Mikepcfl said...

Side note on Mike Mussina. Many people say he chokes in the post season and that will keep him out of the HoF. Here is his line from the 1997 ALCS:

15.0 Innings
0.60 ERA
4 hits
4 walks
25 Strikeouts
0 Wins

He had one of the most dominant series ever and failed to even get a win.

Patriots64 said...

Yes there is a Canadian version!

The CanWest CanSpell National Spelling Bee is a spelling bee held annually in Canada since 2005. The bee is affiliated with the United States-based Scripps National Spelling Bee and uses similar rules and word lists. It is organized by CanWest Global Communications, parent company of 11 of the regional newspaper sponsors.

Jingoist said...

Man, how stupid does Atlanta look now for trading away Matt Schaub?

Um, Dan, I called that last Tuesday...

* How much are the Falcons lamenting moving Matt Schaub off to the Texans? If and when the hammer of Goodell comes down on Vick, something tells me the phrase, "Starting QB" is NOT a label they really had in mind for Joey Harrington (or Chris Redmond).

Geez, Dan, just because you worked for ESPN, doesn't mean you have to follow their reporting skills (i.e., day late, dollar short) reporting-wise. I kid, I kid.

Unknown said...

To markpclf: That was ten years ago when Moose could hit over 89 on the radar...he needs to go to the NL, where hitting is a problem, get 50 more wins, and maybe get HOF consideration

FreKy J said...

One point you really forget Dan is that Billy Donovan isn't hurting his college coaching legacy by going to the NBA. It's a win-win situation regardless of what happens in the NBA.

If he succeeds in the NBA he's vaulted into the top pantheon of all time hoops coaches.

If he fails, he simply goes back to college, picks up where he left off and still becomes the highest paid college basketball coach, while having cashed in even larger during his college hiatus.

Unknown said...

Re: Donovan
Is this about him or about Gator fans? All of the arguments about him possibly joining a "Rushmore" of coaches is just opinion. Who is to say he would have kept things going?
In any case, Donovan should do what he wants for himself. It's his life and his career. Gator fans lamenting "what could have been" and how they would never leave Florida are full of shit and greedy. They care nothing for Donovan's desires...just that he stay to keep bringing Florida titles.

Re: LeBron
First NBA game I've watched until it ended. LeBron was awesome. Some have criticized him for hogging the ball..which is just ridiculous. As Barkley said, LeBron is a "raging inferno".

Re: Steve Kerr
Why didn't he mention it during the game? Maybe because he's a professional and his job is to talk about the game...not his own career changes. That's a good trait to have in a GM role. Focus for the task at hand.

Mikepcfl said...

My point on Mussina is that he has better regular season stats than Schilling, Pedro and Smoltz. But those guys are (rightfully) considered HoF locks because of their post-season exploits. Mussina, ever since his Baltimore days, was said to not be a big-game pitcher. His post-season stats are fine, but he got no support when he was in his prime. I wish he would go to the NL where he could rack up more wins to help his canididacy because I think he deserves a shot.

Unknown said...

I agree that Mussina deserves a shot, great ALCS is 97, and a remarkable performance against the A's (Jeter/flip/Jeremy Giambi game). If he would go to a team like the Braves or anyone in the NL West next year, and get three or four solid years in the NL, he should then be a lock for HOF. If he stays in the AL and continues to post an ERA around 5, there is no way.

Brooks said...

to mikepcfl: In what way does Mussina have better regular season stats than Smoltz?

Geo B said...

Yo Dan -

Why do you think Knocked Up will make money? Yes, Katherine Heigl is one of THE women I'd pay to see undress, but I've seen the trailers - eh, it's a chick flick.

Calvealier said...

May 31 2007 will be remembered as the day Lebron saved the NBA. This was a league whose biggest stories of the entire playoffs was a 1 game suspension in the 2nd round and an already eliminated player's trade demand. Now we have seen the future and it is bright. Hopefully next year D-Wade will be healthy and we can finally get the Lebron-Wade matchup we have been waiting for

Mikepcfl said...

I should have said similiar stats to Schilling, Pedro and Smoltz. But here are numbers for the Moose and Smoltz:

Moose: 241 Wins, 3.66 ERA (124 ERA+), 1.17 WHIP, 2590 SO

Smoltz: 200 Wins, 3.26 ERA (126 ERA+), 1.17 WHIP, 2843 SO, 154 saves

ERA+ is when ERA is compared to the league ERA. Smoltz and Mussina are remarkably similiar. And Mussina played alot of his prime with subpar Orioles' teams or his win total would be much higher.

CMFost said...

Mike - Mussina is close and would a borderline hall of famer but his postseason record is not close to the other 3.

Reg. Season: 241-137, 3.66 ERA, 2590K
Postseason: 7-8, 3.40 ERA

Reg: 212-140, 3.44 ERA, 3075K
Post: 8-2, 2.06 ERA

Reg: 206-92, 2.81 ERA, 2998K
Post: 6-2, 3.40 ERA

Reg: 200-139, 154 Saves, 3.26 ERA, 2843K
Post: 15-4, 4 Saves, 2.65 ERA

Unknown said...

Yes, but one area where Smoltz is far ahead of Mussina is 'aura'. Batters were scared (and may still be) of Smoltz at some point. He's had an air of invincibility at times.
Mussina has never had either.
Mussina is very good. Smoltz is HoF.

OofTheQuick said...

I don't like Evan O'Dorney, but it's because we often don't like others that demonstrate the qualities we don't like in ourselves. I'm sure he's well down the slope on the bell curve of just about every measure of sociability, but he's way too caught up in his own abilities -- he's ignorant of his own egotism. [And yes, I write this because I still occasionally struggle to focus on what others can do rather than just what I can do.]

People can develop socially over time, of course, although I'm not saying O'Dorney needs to just because I don't like watching him (which I'll never have to do again). To paraphrase Under Siege 2, well-adjusted people usually don't create things that change the world.


Holy crap, LeBron. Will someone turn the Pistons back to All-Madden to make sure this thing goes 7?

ToddTheJackass said...

No, Pedro has better regular season stats. Pedro also dominated the competition for about 5 years, in what I'd say was the greatest pitching prime ever. Mussina's a bit underrated, but he's not an equal to Pedro. Schilling, fine, but Pedro, no. Smoltz also has 100+ saves to his name.

Also, if you're arguing Mussina and the postseason, you should note that he saved Clemens and the Yankees' asses in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. Rivera always gets the pitching credit there, but Mussina was huge in the middle innings after Clemens couldn't even go 5. As a Red Sox fan, I never understood why he didn't get more credit for that.

MLB Studs and duds from yesterday, (quick version):

1. Roy Halladay - W, 7.0IP, 0ER, 7Ks
2. Ryan Zimmerman - 2-4, HR, 3R, 4RBI
3. Travis Hafner - 2-3, HR, 2R, 4RBI
4. Mark Buerhle - 8.0IP, 2ER, 6Ks
5. El Duque - W, 7.0IP, 2ER, 2H

1. Bronson Arroyo - L, 8ER
2. Vicente Padilla - L, 7ER
3. Justin Verlander - L, 7ER
4. Josh Sharpless - L, 0.1IP, 2ER
5. Sammy Sosa - 1/5, 4Ks, 6LOB

chitown italian said...

Thanks Dan for picking up on the Matt Schaub angle. I've only mentioned that a half a dozen times since the first story about Vick and dog fighting.

As for Fla. Hoops, actually $1.4M is a lot more money. That's an extra $116,666 more a month. I bet that will buy some nice dinners.

LeBron is the man. I hope the Cavs win it all. Kobe could learn from his team first attitude. I love it.

RIP my Cubbies. I'll call it right now. Thanks Z for cursing the team with your WS and CY talk. Jackass!

Mikepcfl said...

I'm just saying that Mussina is closer to those 3 HoF locks than many announcers state. I said from the beginning that Pedro, Smoltz and Schilling should all be in the HoF. But you rarely hear Mussina mentioned. He is a great pitcher who never got the recognition he deserved because his prime was played for some bad Oriole teams (with the exception of 1996 and 1997). He got horrible run support his entire time in Baltimore. And he was screwed out of the Cy Young in 2001 when he was much better than Clemens that year. But Clemens got a ton of run support that year and won 20 games. Mussina only won 17 with much less support.

Mikepcfl said...

I will say that 'aura' is a media creation. During his prime, opposing hitters always said that no pitcher came to the mound with "no hit stuff" more than Mussina. But the O's of the early 90's were horrible and he never had the media talk about his 'aura'

Brian in Oxford said...

Which hat would you put on Moose's plaque, may I ask?

CMFost said...

Of those 4 Pitchers only Smoltz and Pedro are locks for the HoF. I think Schilling and Mussina will get in but they will not be 1st ballot.

ToddTheJackass said...

Part of the 'aura' problem for Mussina was that his prime came early on, with the O's, and that he's been very good but not great for the Yankees, where more attention has been paid on him.

Here's the way I see it:

Locks: Clemens, Maddux, Pedro, Glavine, Randy Johnson, Mariano
Borderline (Probably in): Smoltz, Schilling, Hoffman
Borderline (Probably out): Mussina, Pettite
Work to do: Johan, Halladay, Oswalt

The point of comp I'd use for Mussina is that I think he'd have a tough time getting in over Bert Blyleven. Pettite I see along the same lines as Mussina, except there's a decent case to make for Pettite that he was never the best pitcher on his own team, and often the 3rd best.

Not saying it's fair, just that I think this is how it is.

Mikepcfl said...

By the time he retires, Mussina will probably pitch just about as much for the Yankees as O's. So I dont know what he would choose, IF he got elected. He was angry when he left the O's (as everyone who leaves after Angelos screws them). So he would probably choose the Yankees. But maybe by that time, he would get over it and choose the O's. But I would support him either way.

CMFost said...

The reasons Smoltz is a lock are:

1. He is the only pitcher in MLB History with 200 wins and 150 Saves.

2. He has one of the best post season records in the history of baseball.

CMFost said...

Hoffman I would also put as a lock. I think it would be stupid if the Hall of Fame left out the guy who when is Career ends will be the all-time saves leader by a wide margin.

Unknown said...

As our resident die-hard NBA fan I have something to say about last night's game.

LeBron has finally showed us what he is capable of. If you didn't actually see the game you don't understand. If you know a way to watch it from the beginning of the 4th quarter to the end, just do it. It will take 1 hour and will leave you in awe.

LeBron was so out of control that it is almost impossible to describe. Starting at exactly 11:00 when there were about 2:30 left on the clock LeBron hit every shot he needed to hit.

Drive through all 5 Pistons? Done. Post up and turn-around jumper? Done. Behind the arc? Please. Shake your man off the dribble? Too easy. Drive for the dunk? Easier done than said. Absorb contact for the and-1? You must be kidding. Fadeaway 3-pointers in front of the Pistons bench while double teamed and off-balance to tie the game in double-OT? Oh, that. That was just a piece of cake really.

Mikepcfl said...

cmfost and Todd. Good analysis. I think Schilling is probably in now. But not positive. I think a better way of phrasing it instead of boderline (out) is borderline with work left to do. Mussina and Pettitte could get in with a couple more good seasons. Maybe both should finish up in the NL.

Mikepcfl said...

And I think Smoltz is a lock as well. His seasons as a dominant closer makes his starting stats stand out even more.

CMFost said...

and yes, Hoffman will be the all-time saves leader. Mariano probably will not catch him before his career is over.

Hoffman is 39, Mariano is 37 and Hoffman has a 81 Saves lead over Mariano.

Luke Bell said...

Stop the "finish in the NL" talk. Sure, the AL has the DH, and therefore the lineups are better, but the pitchers often get pulled earlier in the NL (for hitting reasons) so I think it is pretty much a wash. Giving up an equal amount of runs over fewer innings increases the ERA. Jumping to the NL isn't such an easy fix for a pitcher.

Unknown said...

Pettite doesn't have the regular season stats but let's not forget, in the postseason he is almost unhittable, also he is having a great year this year, even with a losing record...I think he has a lot of work to do, but if somehow he gets back in the postseason and has a great couple of October's he could get in on that alone.

The Legend of Vincent Tremblay said...

Todd, that should read "Salomon Torres/Josh Sharpless". That game doesn't get to Sharpless in the 11th if Torres doesn't hand out doubles like they were bobbleheads in the 9th.

Although I did enjoy watching Bard run after the umpires faster than he usually runs the base paths.

Quick hockey note: NBC, not Versus, for the rest of the Finals. No more excuses.

Natsfan74 said...

I agree that we should quit with the NL jumping as a way to save a career. Pettitte tried the NL and he wasn't dominant there either.

Any time a pitcher switches leagues, it is a short-term advantage to the pitcher as no one knows him, his tendencies, or has seen his stuff. Over time, that evens out. Look at Ted Lilly through April and then Ted Lilly in May.

I'd argue that Pedro put up significantly better numbers in Boston than he did Montreal. hmmmm. What about Bartolo Colon?

CMFost said...

Actually if you look at the season so far the average Team ERA in the National League is 4.12 and in the American League it is 4.41. So based on that stat at this time it is easier to pitch in the National League. I mean look at Roger Clemens his last 2 season in the American League he had ERA's of 4.35 and 3.91 in comparison to his First to seasons in the National when his ERA was 2.98 and 1.87

Unknown said...

Yeah Luke your right, it isn't "easy" but it definetely is "easier". Look at what Randy Johnson is doing this year...the NL West has no hitters which is why I recommend that Moose go to that division...

ToddTheJackass said...

But CMfost, how much of a save lead did Lee Smith have over the comp when he retired? That's the problem I see for Hoffman. The Hall of Fame voters haven't exactly been kind to closers/relief pitchers yet, so for that reason I can't consider Hoffman a lock.

I like the Borderline with work left to do. That's a good way to organize them. I think if Mussina could put together two more solid seasons, he'd be in much better shape. For some reason, I have a sense that Pettite will retire fairly soon...

Also, I believe the Hall of Fame decides which hat you wear on the plaque, though they do take the players' desire into account. I remember this came into when Wade Boggs was going in, because he said he wanted to go in as a Devil Ray.

Luke Bell said...

The NL doesn't have the DH, so of course the team ERAs will be lower in the NL. The DH is usually one of the better hitters on the team too. So you take the worst hitter in an NL lineup and replace him with the best, and face that guy 4 times a night, and there is your jump in ERA. I just hate that people think going up to the NL will somehow make a pitcher into Cy Young. Will he improve? Maybe slightly, until the league catches up with him. I don't think it is because of lack of hitters in the NL, just not as many on each team.

CMFost said...

Let's take Pedro as an Example of how it is easier for a good pitcher to go from the American League to the National League.

2004 with the Red Sox
16-9 in 33 Starts, 3.90 ERA, 1 CG, 227K

2005 with the Mets
15-8 in 31 starts, 2.82 ERA, 4 CG, 208K

So his first season back in the NL his ERA dropped more then a full run.

Let's also Look at Bronson Arroyo:
2005 With the Red Sox
14-10 in 32 Starts, 4.52 ERA

2006 With the Reds
14-11 in 35 Starts, 3.29 ERA

again another full run drop in ERA.

Now let's look at a pitcher going for the NL to the AL, Josh Beckett
2005 With Florida
15-8 with a 3.38 ERA

2006 with The Red Sox
16-11 with a 5.01 ERA

Unknown said...


Your stat about the AL ERA being higher than the NL ERA isn't really showing the complete truth. It's not like the caliber of pitchers in the two leagues are equal and the hitters are better in the AL.

In the AL the pitchers are also much better than in the NL. The fact that the ERA is STILL higher proves just how much better the hitters in the AL are.

Luke Bell said...

And that has nothing to do with a pitcher getting better with experience or worse with age. Beckett seems to be doing better this year than he ever did in the NL.

CMFost said...

Todd, That is a Question I can not answer but Hoffman is already 20 Saves past Smith and he will become the only pitcher to ever record 500 saves in a couple of days. So personally I think especially if Mariano is a lock then Hoffman is a lock. The only place that Mariano has been far superior to Hoffman is the playoffs and Hoffman has had far less of a chance in the playoffs versus Mariano.

Hoffman's Stats:
Reg Season: 51-57, 2.71 ERA, 498
Post: 1-2, 3.46 ERA, 4 Saves

Mariano's Stats:
Reg: 60-43, 2.35 ERA, 417 Saves
Post: 8-1, 0.80 ERA, 34 Saves

Unknown said...

Well done cmforst!! Well done, I think you also need to look at team battign averages (of course the DH affects this)...

AL Seven teams over.272

NL one team (Mets) over .272

The Mark Show said...

Luke Bell you just proved the point you're arguing against. If there are fewer good hitters per team in the NL because of no DH, that means there is an overall lack of good hitters in the NL compared to the AL.

Anyway, I love that it's so obvious that Dan didn't watch the game last night. A lousy two-paragraphs of recycled material about Lebron. He was freaking unbelievable. After he missed the two free throws towards the end of regulation I was ready to write him off and then he just took over and dominated like nothing I've ever seen before. Just incredible.

Indians take another one from the Tigers to increase the AL Central lead. Go Tribe!

ToddTheJackass said...

I think between 2005-2006 there was a bigger difference between the leagues than just the DH. Here are 3 points I can think of:

1. I'm not sure where I read it, but I know that during those seasons that AL teams averaged a pretty decent amount more than NL teams. Not that this can be labeled as an inherent more money = better teams argument, but there undoubtedly is some correlation.

2. Also I believe that there are more parks that play as "pitchers parks" in the NL than the AL. Sure, there's Colorado, Philly, Wrigley, and Cincy, but am I wrong in thinking that all the rest are more or less pitcher's parks? Oakland is one of the only "pitcher's parks" I can think of in the AL, with maybe Detroit.

3. The interleague records, especially in 2006, really point toward the better teams being in the AL during that period.

(Again, I'm just pointing out the previous two seasons, not saying it's true for this one or for eternity).

Luke Bell said...

No, I meant for the league as a whle. There are comparable hitters in each league. But an AL team will have 9 hitters in the lineup, versus 8 in the NL. So each lineup has more hitters, but they aren't necessarily better hitters 1-8. Obviously there are exceptions with some super stacked lineups in the AL. It is all relative. Is it easier to pitch in the NL? Sure. But it isn't the giant saving grace everyone thinks it is.

CMFost said...

In 2007 - 7 of the Top 10 Teams in Team Batting Average are in the American League

In 2006 - 9 of the Top 10 team where in the American League

2005 - 6 out of 10

2004 - 5 out of 10

Unknown said...

I find it amazing that "Fair Weather" Dan talks more about Florida losing the almighty Billy Donovan, the one the single greatest playoff performances in the history of basketball, and really the coming out party of King James!

ToddTheJackass said...

Luke, I agree with you, although I'd argue 1-7, since the 8-hole in the NL seems to have such a completely different role than in the AL. Perhaps the idea should be changed to "moving to a pitcher's park in the NL", because I think there are a ton of guys who could thrive in a place like San Diego, San Francisco, or even Florida if their defense weren't so terrible.

CMFost said...

jman that is because nobody watched the playoff game last night, I am willing to bet that the Spelling Bee got better ratings then that playoff game.

Unknown said...

The HoF picks what hat the bust will have.

Arroyo isn't so hot this year.
Beckett is doing alright.

So that kinda blows the theory on pitching in the AL vs the NL.

Natsfan74 said...

Just posting team batting averages doesn't prove the AL has better hitters. AL teams have 9 good hitters. NL teams have 8. Plus, guys like David Ortiz and present-day Frank Thomas -- who are some of the better hitters in the AL -- couldn't even play in the NL because of their defensive abilities. So not only do teams get to pick up an extra at bat every time through, but they can do so with a guy who is a good hitter and only has to be good at that.

Jen said...

I beg to differ, cmfost

marcomarco said...

Yankees-Red Sox: Ugh... again? Take a swig every time Clemens' name comes up.

At least you're consistent.

I'll take a swig every time you whine about the sox or yankees.

Luke Bell said...

Parks are something we should look at a little more. I am also open to talking about the amount of "large market" teams in the AL vs. the NL. I mean, the Yankees and Sox pay more for one player than the entire roster of my Brewers.

And Todd, I will buy into the 1-7 argument. And I do have a feeling that the tide is slowly turning to the NL. The AL high rollers will always be able to buy the star players, but I think the NL has a huge influx of young guns coming up.

Unknown said...

Todd, Great assessment of which pitchers make the Hall and which don't. I completely agree with your analysis.

As for the basketball game last night, I fell asleep during the 4th quarter (hard bike ride yesterday and the day before). I woke up at 1:15 AM and had to check the final on the Internet.

I thought Detroit would win in 5 games. I guess I was wrong.

I think the AL is better because of the Yankees factor. Everyone was spending to compete with the Yanks and now the Red Sox to bring it up a level. Interleague play is the best barometer of which league is better in my opinion.

Tim said...

Dan-I believe it was Paul Loeffler who was co-commentating with Robin Roberts. I enjoyed how he could interpret whether the spellers knew a word by the questions they were asking.

Luke Bell said...

Exactly. Look at Detroit. If Sheffield had to play the field, who would you take out of the lineup? I would guess Monroe. All of a sudden, Granderson is hitting in front of a pitcher and won't get a pitch to hit in many situations. The whole lineup gets worse.

CMFost said...

How about this one? If David Ortiz had to play first base who would you Sit. Lowell or Youkilis who are both having really good season so far.

Luke Bell said...

You can do it for almost every AL team. Not only do you remove one good hitter from the lineup, but the #8 hitter becomes much weaker by simply having to hit in front of the pitcher.

pv845 said...

Trying to add some humor to this, but if you were the Royals and were in the NL, who would you sit, Sweeney or... nevermind

ToddTheJackass said...

Thanks Cycle. Luke, I agree that the tide may be turning. That's why I try and make the AL/NL point based on 2005-2006, when there did seem to be a pretty large difference. The fact is, we don't have the data for this year yet, so it's hard to say.

But with the young talent in Milwaukee getting older and [mostly] staying healthy, they've risen. I think the Diamondbacks are right there, and will be even better next year if/when Justin Upton gets promoted. And the Rockies are also loaded with talent too, so there are 3 teams that from 05-06 that struggled who could be great teams in a few years. I'd say the Dodgers, except that Colletti seems to hate prospects, and instead desire to overpay past-their-prime veterans instead.

Mikepcfl said...

The difference between leagues is all cyclical. Just like conferences in the NFL or NBA. For the past several seasons, the AL was more powerful, before that, the NL was superior. It will switch every few seasons. Right now, I believe an aging or mediocre pitcher can make himself look better by going over to the NL. Especially since many observers (not the smart people reading this blog), will just look at the lower ERA and think the guy is doing better.

Natsfan74 said...

OK, based purely on numbers, I would buy that a guy could lower his ERA and WHIP by moving from the AL to the NL (no dh, yada yada yada).

But that doesn't get the pitcher any more wins -- as he will also get lower support in terms of team BA/ Runs scored/ etc.

Given that the hall will look a lot harder at wins than WHIP, I don't think that switching leagues is any type of argument. Clemens went 13-8 with an era below 2 (or something like that). Moose isn't going to switch leagues and become a perennail 20 game winner or anything like that.

Michael said...

Here's my question for Dan. You hate the "coaching carosel" then clame that a college coach is foolish for leaving his team to go to the next level. This ingerently creates a carosel so you might care to make up your mind. As far as gator hoops is concerned I wouldn't rest on Anthony grant. That team isn't done, he is a winner and will be great (I hope)

Matt T said...

SEC presidents decide to stick with the BCS for now.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...


Yes "Knocked Up" will make a lot of money b/c of Judd Apatow's success with "40 year old Virgin." However, 2 reasons why it won't be a massive hit: "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared." Those 2 shows were fantastic, but were watched by no one.

Top 5 TV shows that ended too early by cancellation.

1.) Arrested Development
2.) Newsradio
3.) Undeclared
4.) Freaks and Geeks
5a.) It's Like...You Know
5b.) Family Guy (fans will know what I'm talking about)

Unknown said...


I know you didn't just make a list of shows cancelled too early without the inclusion of Playmakers and Sports Night. I know you didn't. Especially with this being a sports blog. Just say it ain't so.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

apologies guyinthecorner

5c.) Sportsnight

Never watched Playmakers.

Unknown said...

By the way, if I had to make a list of top 10 things I bought that were SOOO worth it, I think that the Sports Night DVD set would be very close to the top. It was 40 bucks for both seasons.

Unknown said...


You can rent Playmakers from Blockbuster. It's only like 11 episodes.

Michael said...

Playmakers was no good (IMO) and the newsradio was, I think because Phil Hartman died and wasn't really the same show with John Lovitz (didn't he replace Phil?)

TJ said...

Gators fans, please stop talking about Rick Barnes and John Calipari. Please.

Holy shit, what?! Which Gator fans are you talking to? Pretty much everyone on my AIM buddy list last night had away messages along the lines of "I'll miss Billy... but has Jeremy Foley called Anthony Grant yet?" I was under the impression that Gator fans are pretty unanimous on this one: Anthony Grant is the man. And since Larry Shyatt is following Billy to Orlando, I really don't know who the #2 choice would be. Mine would be Bruce Pearl, but I realize that's a super-long shot.

TJ said...

Why do you think Knocked Up will make money? - eh, it's a chick flick.

So was 40 Year Old Virgin. What's your point?

(Hell, so was Wedding Crasher, but only for the last third.)

marcomarco said...


Firefly has to be in the top 3 somewhere.

Nathan Fillon got screwed by fox again this year with 'Drive' (not in the top 10, until we're able to see past eppy 4 whenever the dvd is released).

At least Joss Whedon learned his lesson.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

There is no doubt in my mind that Anthony Grant is teh next coach of the Gators. He was a major player in the recruitment of 3 of the big 4 and was in Gainesville for 10 years.

IF it doesn't work out that way, I'd like to see the Gators make a serious run at...hold it...John Lucas (and not just for his son)

Joe (Orlando)

Brian in Oxford said...

How about Sledge Hammer? (ABC, circa 1986) That was an awesome show that didn't get new life in films like Police Squad! did.

CMFost said...

40 Year Old Virgin was not a chick Flick and neither was Wedding Crashers. Knocked Up according to what I have read about is not even a chick flick but women will enjoy it more then 40 Year Old Virgin.

Unknown said...

Even though it never really existed Johnny Drama in Five Towns is definetely going to be cancelled too early....come one Entourage fans you know what I'm talking bout

ToddTheJackass said...

Sledge Hammer was frickin' awesome. Good call Brian.

And Knocked Up might end up being the 'best' comedy of the summer (and the reviews for it are awesome), but no way in hell it outgrosses the Simpsons Movie.

Also, I really liked 'The Winner' on Fox, which lasted like 3 weeks... I think I was the only one who liked it though.

Unknown said...

THE WINNER was hilarious, another good one that just disappeared was the Black Donnelleys, not the best mob show (only becasue it was the Irsh and not the Itals) but still had plenty of potential!

ndyanksfan05 said...

giambi most likely out for the year with a muscle tear in his foot - according to an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist.

Good call on that one Dan - you ass...

Unknown said...

I think once Billy and Samir were both out Dan decided to write about the rest of the days activites by watching Sportscenter....c'mon Dan what happened to you?

TJ said...

Are we sure The Simpsons movie is going to be that huge? That fans of the show aren't going to simply wait till it hits DVD? And does Ratatouille count as a comedy under Dan's rules? Because I'm pretty sure the Pixar movie is going to throw a financial beatdown on the Simpsons and the Apatow movie.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

tf is dead to me.

can't you put something like "orlando via a 3 year stint in beautiful dayton?"

ToddTheJackass said...

I don't make it out to the movies that often, but I'll definitely see the Simpsons movie... and the Harry Potter one...

As for the Spelling Bee, I loved the way he genuinely looked like he didn't care when Stuart Scott was interviewing him... that or he was freaked out by the eye. But yeah, my theory of always go for the girl or the South Asian kid definitely failed last night.

Johnny b said...

troy why would fans of the show wait for the movie to come out on dvd; come on; it's our chance to finally see Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa, Maggie, and the rest of Springfield on the big screen; that said it'll be #2 money wise of Comedies this summer if you count The Pixar Flick

Knocked up will be wildly funny and come in at number three or four (depending on how the penguin cartoon does); While some of Judd's stuff didn't get watched (see Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared), His movies (see Anchorman [was producer] and 40 Year Old Virgin) has done very well

Rev: your list is very good; though I didn't watch It's Like ... You know. I have yet watch a new show on Fox because of the way they treated Arrested Development (I would have given up the network all together if it wasn't for the Simpsons)

Hockey note:

Pens named Crosby the youngest captain in the history of the sport yesterday. They offered it to him in mid season but he wasn't sure if it was the right time for the team and thus declined

Patriots64 said...

Evan Almighty could be funny as well, Steve Carell is a great comic actor!!

Mikepcfl said...

Here's an obscure show that Fox buried one summer, but I really liked: Keen Eddie. Anyone else watch it? Anyone?

If nothing else it gave us a young Sienna Miller.

Brian in Oxford said...

Stuff like the Simpsons, and the Pixar movie have built-in bases of $150 million -- people will see those immediately and then we'll figure out later whether they're good or not.

You take an R-rated movie with lesser-known's gotta build up to that much. It might do $15 million for each of 10 weeks, for instance, rather than flame out early.

It's like, you know was a pretty good show...but it suffered from being in that Friends/Seinfeld genre of a bunch of youngish buddies. Now we've got that "fat slob/hot wife" genre to finish off as soon as possible.

ToddTheJackass said...

For a show that ended too soon but had a great run, the British version of Coupling was awesome. At least the first 3 seasons were, the 4th and final, not so much.

CMFost said...

I would add Jericho to the list of Shows that did not get enough of a chance. It was a good show and because of the stupid hiatus that CBS put it on it lost a lot of viewers and got cancelled.

Unknown said...

I do not believe that any movie this summer will compete with the Simpsons wioll have a huge opening, and might fizzle, but with the millions of fans ready to see it, and the millions that will see it more then once, I think it will be easily the top grossing movie of the summer...also it will probably end up as one of the most profitable movies ever, because animation costs nothing!!

Jen said...

I watched Freaks and Geeks. I loved that show. Oh wait, I'm a chick though. Maybe that's why?? Arrested Development was great too.

I definitely don't think Wedding Crashers is a chick flick. I turned it off after the first half. It got so stupid. 40 Year Old Virgin isn't a chick flick either, IMO.

Jen said...

Who was in "It's Like...You Know"?

CMFost said...

I can name at least 3 movies that The Simpsons will not touch when it comes to money brought in.

Shrek 3
Spiderman 3
Pirates of the Caribbean 3

Brian in Oxford said...

It's like, you know featured Jennifer Grey -- remember her from Ferris Bueller or Dirty Dancing? I think she played herself....after having a nose job, which they pointed out in a couple of episodes.

There was also a guy who was a good actor and kept his head shaved after he survived cancer, I think. I'd have to IMDB him to see his name, but he looks like my doctor.

Patriots64 said...

I was thinking that also CMFost but maybe he means Summer from June-September timeframe. The Simpsons could lead then with some competition from Transformers,Ratatouille, Bourne Ultimatum and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

NA said...

Simpsons is a comedy, the conversation was about the biggest comedies this summer - none of the big money sequals (arguably Oceans 13) are comedies.

Simmons question - He's a pseudo-blogger for ESPN, basketball quite possibly has their most important day in years (LeBron coming out party / Billy Donovan going pro - AKA Pitino jokes)
How does he not write anything for it. I mean isn't his best area writing about basketball?

Just curious.

I still say Hoffman is not a HOFer, I don't care about the all-time saves record, he broke Lee Smith's record, I think John Franco is also in the top 3. To be a HOF reliever you have to be transcendent, the only two relievers in the last 25 years that are are Eckersly and Rivera (because of the post-season). I think SMoltz is a borderline HOFer, but I don't believe Pettite or Mussina should be i the HOF, they are not transcendent players.

Patriots64 said...

@Eric, read above jmantu said The Simpsons will be the largest grossing film including all sequels of the entire summer!!

NA said...

I stand corrected. I don't think the Simpsons will touch the big 3... But there is a chance, I think if the movie came out 10 years ago, they would have had teenage boys flock to the movie over and over again the way girls went to Titanic, now.... people will see it, but wait to watched the burned copies that friends make on their tv. Why pay $25 to see an 90 minute episode 2x when you can pay to see a whole season.

I say it grosses $150 Mil.

CMFost said...

Let's put it this way if Hoffman does not get in to the Hall of Fame then no reliever should be in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is not just about what you did in the playoffs. It is about being one of the best to play the game in your position. Eck made the hall not just because he was a reliever but also since he was a solid starter. Eck (197 wins and 390 saves, 3.60 ERA) and Smoltz(200 W, 154 Svs, 3.26 ERA) are the only pitcher in MLB history with more then 195 wins and 150 saves. And I believe Eck and Derek Lowe are the only 2 pitchers to have a 20+ win season and a 40+ save season.

CMFost said...

If you add just the Summer the top 3 movies will be:

Harry Potter
Die Hard

All will blow away the Simpsons. It is possbile that all 3 will gross more in the First 2 weeks then the Simpsons due total

chitown italian said...


Zambrano and Barrett fighting in the Cubs dugout. Make sure you turn into SportsCenter for that one!!

kirby077 said...

What about the fact that the Simpsons are not as popular as they used to be? I can honestly say I haven't watched a new episode in 3-4 years, and all the people I know haven't either.

Unknown said...

Are we forgetting to mention the insane potential that Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer has to make like a bajillion dollars? Obviously Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will also make a crazy amount of money.

Johnny b said...

Oh I stand corrected and I did watch It's Like ... You Know

that was a really good show; I just forgot about it until somebody mentioned Jennifer Grey

Ugg this Cubs team is Pathetic in the most derogatory meaning of the word

Johnny b said...

Oh yes the Fantastic 4 movie looks much better than the first which I did enjoy

marcomarco said...

Live free or Die Hard - will do pretty well also.

Mega said...

Regarding the Cubs fight in the dugout (along with the fans who jumped on the field and the trash that found its way on the field as well at Wrigley), I'm just curious as to how the Chicago media is going to blame the White Sox for this one.

Lowlife said...

I do agree that Knocked Up will be one of those sleeper hits like 40 Year-Old Virgin, it could end up being the biggest grossing comedy movie of the summer. I saw a pre-screener for Knocked Up a couple weeks back, and if you don't have kids, that movie makes you want to have a kid (in a good way). And it's super hilarious. I have high hopes for Superbad, another Apatow production. If you haven't seen the trailers for that movie, you need to check it out.

As for the other movies, Pirates 3, Spider-Man 3 and Shrek 3 are all on their way to making $300+ million. And we still have Transformers (whose trailer got the biggest applause I've ever seen from an audience before the Pirates movie), Harry Potter 5 (a guaranteed $200 million), and the Simpsons (granted, the Simpsons are not as funny - but still funny - as they used to be, but they brought back most of the original writers for this movie - I'm guessing it's going to make at least $150 million).

But there's more films that will at least break the $100 million mark:
Ocean's 13, Ratatouille, Live Free or Die Hard, Evan Almighty, Bourne Ultimatum. Possibly the movies I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry and the Invasion might be hits. This could very well be the biggest summer in movie history. I intend to watch most of, if not all, those blockbusters. I'm so stoked.

Any how, back to sports - how could you lead your post today without, as Marv Alberts put it, "one of the greatest NBA playoff performances in history"? You're too obsessed with Florida. It's unhealthy, Dan.

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