Thursday, October 19, 2006

There's little rhyme or reason 

- You haven't experienced "bizarre and random" until your mother fires up a discussion with you about how much you'd love Brazil because the beaches are filled naked women.

- Brazil, Rio specifically, is one of the places in the world that I'd like to visit before I die.

- Just as one side is correct and the other is baseless and retarded in the evolution vs creationism "debate," the same is true for any discussion regarding Moneyball (the correct position is that Moneyball works) and the B(C)S (the correct position is that playoffs in college football are a superior system).

- Friday Night Lights is probably the best new show on television. And it isn't even that amazing. I'm officially done with The Nine and am pretty over Studio 60 which, as rumor has it, is on the chopping block. Not undeservedly, either.

- Can't argue a lick with Jeffrey winning Project Runway. Michael's collection was a tank job, Laura was the weakest designer of the final four, and Uli (though she had just as good an argument for winning) probably doesn't quite have the edginess and diversity that Jeffrey does. Would've been happy with an Uli win, too, but nothing wrong with giving it to the second most interesting character on the show. (That's right, Vincent. Who loves ya?)

- Baseball is largely decided on luck. Not a popular position, but it is. I feel a rant coming on... In no other sport is execution of schemes and tactics from players not guaranteed. And what I mean by that is that in baseball, you can have all the talent in the world, but there is no play call or design to ensure victory. Why? Because in every other team sport, the ball is always in play. Be it football, basketball, hockey, soccer, whatever, the ball is always in play, thus allowing teams to perform plays and schemes that they have practiced. Baseball managers are the equivalent of sorority den mothers. Some are more adept at preparing teams and filling out a batting order than others, some have a better idea of when to pull a pitcher off the mound, none have instituted a system that wins games. In football and basketball, you call a million plays a game, each specifically designed to score. You cater to your team's strengths (Triangle offense, 3-4 defense, etc.) In hockey, you practice special teams formations diligently (umbrella, box and one, etc). Aside from superior pitching (which, itself, is unreliable when determining who will win, game-to-game), there is little to determine which team will be champion at the end of the day. The Detroit Tigers are a team of nobodies, Ivan Rodriguez, and suddenly good young pitchers. A year ago, they were 20 games below .500. Now, they're being crowned World Series champs before the National League championship has even been determined. This is the same Detroit team that went a pitiful 19-31 in it's last 50 games, capped off by when they were swept by the Royals, baseball's worst team, in the last weekend of the regular season. Win just one of those final three games and Detroit win's the division. What? They didn't want to win the division? So what does this team with zero momentum do after losing game 1 to the Yankees? Rattles off seven straight. There was no momentum there. The St. Louis Cardinals back door their way into the playoffs and are just one game from reaching the World Series. There was no momentum in 2004 when the Red Sox won in an improbable eight in a row to end the season. There was no momentum at all in the Dodgers' 2006 regular season. 11 straight losses here, 15 straights wins there, streaks both high and low all over. Baseball is a staggering 162-game-long season. Winning just 95 of those 162 is considered an immense success. That's just 14 games above .500, a miniscule number. Now, I'm not suggesting that there aren't good teams and bad teams. What I'm suggesting is that baseball is completely unpredictable. So much so, that any pre-game analysis is almost entirely pointless. It's a tenant of Moneyball that you can only prepare and equip your team so much before the fates -- be they real or otherwise -- take over. The Yankees dynasty of the late 90s was perhaps the last of that kind we will see for maybe a generation. An anomaly? With today's free agent market and the blueprint out there for any team, big market or small, to compete... I think so.

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