Friday, July 27, 2007

A Little Weekend Funny

Poorman's Podcast.

I'm beginning to find the name of the podcast annoying. I'll have to think of something else before too long. Off to get some ribs, and don't make any black jokes. Its the first time I've had ribs in over a year. I just had a taste for some barbecue.

Fight Night should be exicting. I'm looking forward to it.

Enjoy.

Baseball, Gambling, and Lots of Nerd Talk

Log and I are attempting to do a comparison between Clay Davenport's Baseball Prospectus projections and the lines Las Vegas has created in regards to MLB teams winning their respective divisions. The projections BP produces give us the different probabilities each individual team has of winning their division or wildcard, and then sums those two totals to calculate an individual teams total probability of making the playoffs (presented as a percentage number.) I will focus only on the odds/projections of each team winning their respective division as those are the only bets Vegas allows for.

Baseball Prospectus gives us the ability to make predictions based on current cumulative statistics and future projections that are as accurate as any other baseball projections analysis tool used by statisticians(we know about). Using that information might enable us to find some holes in the lines of Vegas, which are actually lines the public creates. Once we know that the public may have missed the boat on a line, we can avoid it or bet against it, and consequently, increase our bets expected value as we aren’t basing our decisions on public perception but rather statistical projections rooted in fact

Please look at the spreadsheet and understand that the Vegas % you see for each team is essentially the public’s perception about each team winning their respective division. Then, look at the public’s perception and compare it to Baseball Prospectus’ projections. You can see that they differ a lot in some instances, and sometimes not at all. The spreadsheet indicates that the publics perception of a team and the most accurate projections of a team actually winning their division are sometimes completely different.

Throughout the rest of this article we will attempt to:
1) Explain how Baseball Prospectus arrives at their projections and prove their accuracy

2) Explain how an individual can accurately measure the public perception of an event by explaining how Vegas Lines are created and what they mean

3) Compare the results of the publics perception (Vegas betting odds) against the Baseball Prospectus projections that should be more accurate

4) Show you how you can use these comparisions to find holes in the betting odds Vegas produces


Let the fun begin!

1. First we need to convince you that these odds from Baseball Prospectus are legit and explain where they are derived from. Davenport starts with what’s called a team’s third-order winning percentage. W3, as its called, is derived from a team’s Equivalent Average or EQA which incorporates all offensive production into a single number that looks like a batting average. It is adjusted for park factors as well league factors. Adding each player’s EQA yields a new runs-scored total for each team and from this you can compute runs allowed using the total pitching line. After that strength of schedule is factored in and the results are used to calculate a Pythagorean record. It was originally developed by Bill James and has since been perfected. It has proven to generally be accurate to within three games.

If you’re still with us hold on because this will get a little more confusing before it becomes clear. Davenport now uses a Monte Carlo simulation, which, very simply put, takes a set of data and random simulates possible outcomes to find the most likely scenario. In order to take into account the random variance in the EWP the simulation uses a regression. Normally the regression would be to the mean (.500) but in this case Davenport uses the PECOTA projections from the beginning of the year. Davenport simulates the season a million times and the percentage of times each team wins the division is what we will use for our “odds”.

Baseball Prospectus is the most trusted name in baseball stastics. Part of Davenpor'ts projections use the aforementioned PECOTA projections that were 73.6% accurate for the 2006 baseball season. We think we can fairly assume that the predictive nature of Baseball Prospectus numbers won't deviate more than 10% from the actual outcome (i.e. which teams win their division.) No system is perfect, and Baseball Prospectus attempts to get us closer to perfect information. Basically, just assume we are right in suggesting that these projections are about as good as we can expect to do!

(If you want to see a more detailed explanation check out this, this, and this, as well as the actual projections, updated daily.)

2. Now we need to get rid of a common misconception many people have when looking at gambling lines. In order for us to compare the two systems, we must first understand the underlying "meaning" of any line Las Vegas creates.

Most see a horse or baseball team at 4:1, and assume those odds are the probability of a horse or team winning their respective events. In actuality, The 4:1 number is not a probability at all, but rather a "money ratio" of how much you have to pay to win. (PAYING ODDS!!!) To reiterate my point: the odds we see from Las Vegas are not "the chance an event will occur", but rather the amount a bookie pays if he loses or, collects if he wins. Please reread that section if you don't understand, because if its not grasped the rest of this article will look like it's written in Chinese. (It might even if you've understood me up to this point!)

So, when public perception of a team is high, a bookie starts getting a lot of bets for that particular team. In an attempt to protect his ass and minimize his loses (in the case that the public favorite does actually win) he has to start adjusting his “paying odds” ratio so that more action is giving to the other team (the public dog.) Remember we are talking about money and not probabilities. Hypothetically, if a bookie was sure about the probability of a random event, a natural line would be created, and he'd only take action if the public produced a "paying odds" line that gave him positive expected value. If they wouldn't, he would simply avoid the action and wait until the public bit, and produced a favorable line. In the long run, he would win every single time!

For example, if people were paying a bookie $50 dollars to win $1 on coin flips, he would never move his line because the "public perception" was that heads was the "hot" side of the coin and "it could never be beaten". The true odds would be 1:1 and people would be paying 1:50!! He would be as rich as Bill Gates. That's why a flip of the coin bet will always be even money, unless you are a degenerate like me and would give someone 13/10 odds on one side just so you could get action. (Yeah I've done that a couple times). If the public thinks the tails side of the coin, for whatever reason, didn’t have the same expectation of “winning” as the heads side, and wouldn't bet it, he would have to wait until those perceptions shifted back and created at least an even money bet. He would only be willing to take action if one side of the coin was perceived as being a better bet then the other side of the same coin. In that instance, he would win every single time over the long run!

3. Saying all that, I think that the "paying odds" ratio for random Team A, (expressed as X to Y, X:Y or X/Y )do in fact correlate to the actual probability of random Team A winning or losing an event.

Inherently, a "futures" bet involving playoff projections is different than the flip of a coin. Based on information (PECOTA), one can start to predict probabilities that move the "paying odds" ratio away from 1:1(even money.) Remember, the "paying odds" should tend to correlate with the true probability odds of an event because as a large number of people start betting, the "paying odds" ratio (X :Y) actually becomes the public ‘s perception of the likelihood of a team either winning or losing. We, as a betting public, have the ability to somewhat predict the likelihood of an event by creating the very lines we bet on.

Say this with me: We create the lines we bet on! Those lines we create indicate our future probability projections. We wouldn't be willing to put up a $100 to win $1 if we didn't think we knew something was almost guaranteed to happen!

Would anyone bet that the Red Sox are making the playoffs if they had to pay $3000 to win $1, with their current standing atop the AL East? Definitively, the answer is no. However, people are willing to pay $50 to win $1 dollar because that's where the line is it. The public created that line and it suggests that the Red Sox have a very, very, good chance of making the playoffs. Basically, that large a pool of bettors can't be wrong, so Vegas is only willing to pay out $51 on your 50$ risk! IF the public perception of the Red Sox started declining, the line would move down and we would have to pay less up front to win that mighty dollar. Are we smart enough as a group to predict probabilities? Well, Vegas sure thinks so. I'll attempt to explain why.


I first took the "paying odds" ratios and created a makeshift percentage which looked something like this:

Percent of future win paid= Y/ (X+Y) where the "paying odds" ratio is set up as X:Y or X to Y. (i.e. The Orioles "paying odds" ratio is 250:1 or 250 to 1)

This formula, which attempts to show the public's perceived probability of success, calculates the amount of money one has to pay in a "paying odds" ratio and compares it to the total amount of money earned from a future win based on that same ratio. So, in the Red Sox example, the "paying odds" ratio was 1:50, which means someone has to wager $50 to win $51.


The formula looks like this: 50/ (50+1)= 50/51=98%.

We have to pay 98% of any future win initially if we even want to take any action. So, anyone who takes this bet must believe that the perceived probability of success (the Red Sox making the playoffs in this example) is close to 98%, because that person is willing to put up 98% of any future win just to take the action. Along those lines,, this example suggests that Vegas thinks there is an extremely high probability that the Red Sox are going to make the playoffs (or the line would move to a lower number to get proper action). The Royals aren't viewed quite so highly as the "paying odds" ratio is 250:1, which means we have to pay $1 to win $250.

The formula looks like this 1/ (250+1)= 1/251= .04%.

We only have to pay .04 of any future win initially if we want to take the action.

After I calculated this P% of future win paid (perceived probability of success) and then compared it to the projections Baseball Prospectus created. A quick observation suggests that the "paying odds" ratios, when broken down into a P% of future win paid, are extremely similar to those probability odds of BP. The long shots shouldn't even be considered. Vegas, as well as the public, know that these teams have no chance of winning a division. The chance of a team like KC winning their division becomes almost as predictable as a flip of the coin and Vegas doesn't have to move their line from an optimum point. Believe it or not, even these teams are over valued!

Think about it, if you agree that the public sets the line, and that the line is a pure "money odds" ratio, we would have to see if that ratio is similar to the % projection probabilities BP creates. The only way to do that is by creating a Percent of future win paid #, which would suggest our perceived probability of success for any given team and comp, and then comparing it to the probabilities generated by BP.

4. Taking the average difference between our perceived probability and that of the lines of Vegas, one can see that our probabilities and those BP are very similar. Over the entire league my "Probability of Success" % is only 6% different than that of Vegas. (see chart)

The 6% difference is due almost entirely to "public plays" that are statistically (based on our PECOTA projections) awful.

Ten Teams were +4% or more away from the mean.

NYY- 10%

LAA-10%

SEA- 12%

ATL-13%

SDP- 13%

MIL- 14%

CLE- 15%

ARZ- 15%

PHI- 18%

The Yankees are projected to make the playoffs 6.50% of the time based on our BP projections, while the public suggests they will get there 16.66% of the time.

The Phillies deviate furthest from the mean, as BP's statistical projection has them making the playoffs 7.45% of the time, but the public sees them getting in 25% of the time; creating the 18% difference. (See chart) This makes the Phillies the most "public Play", and statistically the worse bet one could make this year when considering MLB division futures. I find this very interesting, and if not for "public plays", that are based on nothing more than a feeling, Vegas would only be collecting the juice. They are content with taking action this far away from the mean because they are going to win more than they lose.

I found one interesting case where the public's perception (the Vegas Line) was less than that of BP's playoff projections. The Mets, under BP, are supposed to make the playoffs almost 80% of the time, but the public is only willing to put up 75% of any future win (perceived probability) to take action. This suggests that they are a public dog, and would be the best bet. I guess this turns into the contrarian theory of betting, but statistical projections suggest they are undervalued by 5%in the eyes of the public, whereas the ten teams listed above are extremely overvalued. The Sox are right at the average, but are also overvalued as a team.

Remember, the BP projections are historically around 70-75% accurate, so a better system could certainly be created that would produce better probability projections. However, it is a start. I've learned that this tool could be more valuable in preventing people from making stupid, public bets then in finding teams Vegas has really missed the boat on. However, saving bets is important in any form of gambling. Money saved is money earned.

We hope you were able to follow this article at least somewhat. Our findings were anything from earth shattering, but you know who to stay away from with any 'futures' betting you might do this year. GO METS!!!

Indians Fans-- Get Your Kenny Lofton Jersey Shirts Out of the Closet

He's back! The Indians traded single A catcher Max Ramirez (acquired last year for Bob Wickman from the Braves) to the Rangers for Kenny Lofton today, marking Lofton's third stint with the club. We all remember the Lofton for Grissom trade before the '97 season-- it was painful. Anyway, I refuse to believe that this is all the Indians are going to announce today. The press conference has to be at 4 o'clock for a reason-- there's gotta be another trade in the works. Think about it-- the Indians outfield now includes Grady Sizemore, Kenny Lofton, Trot Nixon, Jason Michaels, Franklin Gutierrez, Ben Francisco, Sin Choo-Choo in the minors (no, I didn't make that name up), and Dave Dellucci on the DL. That is downright absurd. I'm going to speculate that Francisco and/or Michaels are on their way out for a relief pitcher of some kind. At least I'm hoping.

As far as the actual trade goes, I think it is good for Indians' fans excitement. The Jake has not been getting filled up lately and any bandwagon fan that used to love Kenny Lofton will be going out to support him and the rest of the guys that are foreign to them. As far as upgrading in actual baseball terms, it can move Sizemore down in the lineup so he can now bat third as many Indians fans have been calling for. We've got karma on our side as well, considering that Lofton has been to the playoffs five times with the Indians with one World Series appearance. I won't continue to subject you folks to my trying to talk myself into the idea of bringing back a corpse of a former Cleveland hero.

More on this after all of the dust settles.

The Ole' Gun Pull: These Guys Need Some New Material

An NFL football player was arrested after pointing a gun at a stripper outside of a “gentlemen’s club” on Thursday morning. A few questions just popped in my head after rereading that first sentence.

1. Why are these places still called “gentlemen’s clubs”?

2. Who gets arrested on a Thursday afternoon? (pick a cooler day/time)

3. I wonder if Stephen Jackson thinks imitation is the greatest form of flattery? (Oh wait, Bridges didn't fire off any rounds)

The man arrested plays for an NFL team who’s mascot is a cat. Oh, I know you’re saying, “This has Carson Palmer written all over it”, but it was actually the Carolina Panthers” offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges. Bridges, a regular at the club, supposedly arrived after the night’s festivities had ended and wasn’t able to get in. He then pulled out his gun, the stripper called the police, and he got arrested. He posted the $3,000 bail, and should be ready for the Panther’s training camp which starts today. Just another day in the life of an NFL player!

I mean I’d be pissed too. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been locked out of a strip club thinking, “I wish I had a gun to pull on someone”, I’d be 10 cents richer.

I’m sure Goodell is getting one of his big suspensions nice and ready. I think we can all agree that this is sooo much more serious than murdering dogs (vicking from this point forward)! I bet Vick couldn't keep a straight face if you held that picture up in front of him.

Story

Seriously, Will the Funny Ever Stop?

Poorman's Podcast



Enjoy. You will not know the meaning of the Big Boy until the end of the Podcast, and even then you might still be confused.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Animal All-Stars

This sports year has been marred with stories detailing the death and destruction of animals; from Barbaro's heart-wrenching struggle to Vick's dog executing, the year has been a trying one for the animal kingdom. In times like these, it's important to look at the bright side because, even in the darkest depths of despair, the light of hope shines eternal. So, it's time to shift the spotlight onto some of Animalia's brightest stars.

Babe-
While this little piggy went to the market and that little piggy stayed home, Babe was beating the shit out of his canine counterparts at, unbelievably, herding. Babe broke through the walls society placed around pigs at the time, and excelled in a sport normally left to dogs (or cowboys) ... sing it Babe:

The Pigeon-
Randy Johnson won the Cy Young award for four straight seasons from 1999-2002, during this period he was practically unhittable. The 2001 season was probably his best as a professional, culminating in the Diamondbacks World Series victory over the Yankees. Neither man nor bird could hit the future Hall of Famer that year, except one. Many came, Blue Jays, Orioles, Cardinals, but only the Pigeon was able to hit Randy Johnson's fastball.

The Elephant-
As we all know, midgets are extremely dangerous creatures. Odd's are you've had a run-in with one, and realized that they will give you all you can handle and more. If you've been lucky enough to avoid contact with the little critters, TLC's show "Little People, Big World" should be enough to convince you of their immense power. That's why this Elephant's feat of beating 44 midgets in an airplane pull is so outstanding.

The era of Fox's "Man vs. Beast" was the animal kingdom's heyday, we should all try and look back at that time, the peak of animal (and possibly human) history, as a guide for how we should interact with the opposite species, with love, compassion, and sportsmanship. I often wonder what Barbaro chose for his last dying wish, I think he'd wish to be transformed into glue, a glue with strength enough to repair the fractured relationship between man and beast, maybe I'm just a dreamer, but sometimes dreams come true.

A Reason to Show a Picture of Erin Andrews (and a little bit of news)

Vick entered a not guilty plea at his first federal hearing today. He was granted bail but was ordered to surrender his passport, wear a monitoring device, and is not allowed to leave the jurisdiction where he lives. His trial date is set for November 26.

I watched the Who's Now segment on SportsCenter for the first time today and it was actually outstanding. I don't remember a word of what was talked about but Erin Andrews was on the panel. That's the ESPN I could get used to.

Odell Thurman will sit out the entire 2007 season
. I'm usually the first one to make fun of the Bungles but this is pretty ridiculous. He failed a drug test and got a DUI. He sat out all of last season. Another whole season? Seems pretty excessive. All I can say is that if Vick takes a snap this season the NFL is a huge joke.

Skip Prosser Dead


It's just been reported that Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser died of heart attack today while jogging. He was fifty-six years old. Before leaving for Wake in 2001 Prosser was the head coach at Xavier. My defining memory of Prosser would have to be their 3OT tournament game against West Virginia in 2005, which might be the best game I have ever seen.

From everything I've heard he was a genuinely good guy and will surely be greatly missed. Sad story.

Wake Forest Coach Skip Prosser Dies at 56

Guy's Favorite "Guys" (Vol. 1)

I don't know how long this segment will go on-- this may be both the first and the last one, but I'm going to give it a go to see how the reception is. There are certain "guys" out there that either crack me up or annoy me by their actions. It is either a "what the hell is this guy doing?" or a "is this guy serious?" In no particular order, today's "Guys":

1. Entirely too tan guy on the beach

This one is sticking out to me right now because I am at the beach. There are guys that are with the rest of their family who are doused with tanning lotion and are usually sporting a gold chain and/or watch. To qualify, their wives and children must be of fair complexion, making it unnatural. Perhaps they have some Native American in them, but I'm going to go with the assumption that they care way too much about their bronze color.

2. Guy standing in front of a TV at a sports bar

These guys are completely unaware of their surroundings. They are probably the same people that slowly change lanes and don't really worry about if they are going to cut you off. It isn't that they are being ass holes, they are just stupid. I experienced this one last week at BW3's while trying to watch the Indians game with some guys. The big screen was clearly in our path, but this guy stands by his friends, blocking our view. Yeah, don't worry about it-- we weren't watching the game anyway. "Sports bar" is stressed because it would be completely different if we were at shitty Applebee's or something. But we are at a sports bar where the sole reason for attending one is to watch sports.

3. Guy that just suffered a really bad beat in poker

Usually when someone is telling a bad beat story, they are telling someone that is knowledgable about the game, considering a lot of bad beat stories are told at poker tables in casinos to guys at their table. I've got news for you-- these people have heard them all. Seriously, every single bad beat. The only exemptions are very long strings of bad beats, they can be summed up like "yeah I was getting beated all day, like 9 hands in a row." These people can be patronized by giving them a simple "wow that is so bad man." You don't even need to listen to their story. Just sympathize and say how bad the other player must be. That is exactly what they want to hear.

I will be posting more "guys" as I come across them in everyday life. Hopefully you enjoyed the rant. (It's a slow news day-- and I'm not touching the Costas/Bonds catfight or Deion Sanders' absurd quotes).

Shill, Just Shut It

Ever since Curt Schilling joined the Red Sox I’ve pretty much loved him. He works hard and almost always gives his team a chance to win. He seems to genuinely care about the fans and the charities he’s involved with and he will always give an honest answer when asked a question. All of those things are why I’ve always defended Shilling when he’s said something controversial or obnoxious.

I think it’s pretty hypocritical that the same people who complain about athletes not talking to the media and using the same old clich├ęs when they actual do were all about blasting Schilling for giving his honest opinions on issues. But with that being said, Curt, sometimes its best to just shut up.

He’s already seen the reaction the last time he said something about Bond’s and it wasn’t positive. I thought he would have learned his lesson. Schilling deserves a lot of respect for the way he plays the game, but openly criticizing other players on issues that have nothing do with him is going to cause people to lose a great deal of that respect he’s earned over the years. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be entitled to his opinion; he just needs to stop and think if he really wants to have an opinion on everything.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Saving Your Day One Podcast at a time.

Poorman's Podcast # 9 or 10

You can thank me later.

Just some long-winded talk about politics, sports, and ridiculous people.

A Penny for your Thoughts

In my WSOP 2007 Main Event running diary, I explained that before final table action began, my friend Joe transferred Hevad Khan $0.01 on Pokerstars. In other words, a lucky penny. He then e-mailed Stars to explain to them what he did, and they e-mailed back saying that they forwarded his e-mail onto Hevad. All in all, a ridiculous turn of events. Well, Saturday at about noon, I got an e-mail forwarded to me from Joe (originally from Khan himself). Here's what it said:

It was great way to end the series, and to have everyones support especially including your own it made the experience that much more emotional and fun for me. I seriously gave this tournament every bit of focus and energy that I could and pulled the best result that I could see possible. That being said, I am totally happy with my 6th place finish. I hope you keep working real hard so that next year it'll be you on tv doing back flips and chugging gallons of milk on front of the camera (or something else ridiculous) lol! Take it easy man.

Sincerely,
Hevad "RaiNKhAN" Khan
The internet. It's a crazy place.

A Day Late and Many Dollars Short

Unfortunately, I watched “CNN’s Youtube” debate which featured candidates for the Democratic presidential ticket. Hilary, Obama, and Edwards did most of the talking as the other candidates for the nomination sat around pissed off that they weren’t getting enough air time. I just love it how they always end with the statement “and that’s what I’ll do as President of the United States”. I am going to start doing that in Taco Bell drive thru lanes and during random conversations I have with friends and family members.

1. Bill Richardson looked like he had three pounds of make-up on his face.

2. Dennis Kucinich definitely did at least a couple lines of coke, and kept telling people to text message the word “peace” in an attempt to stop the War in Iraq. Ya, we want a president running the country who thinks text messages will solve the conflict in the Middle East?

3. Biden was the most straightforward and might have the most comprehensive plan for a phased withdrawal out of Iraq, but he’s not polished enough to win the nomination.

4. Hilary performed exactly as expected as she is the most seasoned politician of the bunch.

5. Obama didn’t impress me too much, and seemed a little “off his game”. He will be tough to compete with though as he’s raising more money than Hilary and getting that money from many small contributors. He actually has a grassroots campaign going, and that’s dangerous come primary time.

Overall, the politicians held many very similar stances on the war, healthcare, education, global warming, same sex marriage, and the economy, as I suspected. I won’t start really paying attention to their subtle differences until it matters.

I was most impressed with John Edwards, not so much because of his positions, but because I feel he was being genuine in his answers.

Example 1- He told America that he doesn’t want anyone’s vote who wouldn’t vote for a women or a black candidate.

Example 2- He defended his position on same-sex marriage, saying he thought it was wrong. He said he fought with this issue everyday as he wants to make sure America continues to move away from discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation etc.. However, he believes his personal opinions, and those of any candidate who is lucky enough to serve our country, shouldn’t matter when making decisions that affect the country as a whole. This is a very difficult stance to take with progressive democrats, and his statement proves he’s not willing to back away from his beliefs even if it means losing the election.

I thought the setup of the debate was ridiculous.; too much technology, too much production, and too much Anderson Cooper. I love how the most serious discussions have to be considered "entertaining" for people to get interested. God, why do I even write about this kind of stuff? If you want to see a big time rant that stemmed from this debate check out my old blog . I'll just warn you its not interesting, and certainly not pretty.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lieutenant Wellman Reporting for Duty

He's back ... Phil Wellman, manager of the Mississippi Braves (Atlanta's AA affiliate), returned to the site of his near career-ending blowup. The Braves visited the Chattanooga Lookouts tonight who gave Wellman a glorious welcome. It was Phil Wellman Night at the ballpark with festivities including, the throwing out of the first rosin bag and a Wellman crawl contest.

This seems like just a silly promotion, but there is an underlying problem that has yet to be revealed; the essence of the Chattanooga team has been compromised and no amount of jokes can change that. The "Lookouts" allowed a 300 pound enemy combatant to compromise their field, rape their women, steal their bases, and launch an unidentified projectile at their home plate. The joke is truely on them ... Go Braves.

Phil Wellman Night
via Baby Braves

Celebrity News, Where the Word 'News' is Used Loosely

Back by popular request we have another edition of celebrity news and gossip. Well actually two people asked me to do it, but I'm tired of talking about Donaghy, Vick and Bonds. That sounds like a law firm that would have really cheesy commercials. Wow, I can't believe I just typed such a horrible joke. I would start over but, like I said, two people will probably read this so screw it.

Not surprisingly Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are competing for the biggest celebrity story. Paris Hilton, out of pure jealousy, is probably on a boat somewhere recording a sex tape involving a train, Daunte Culpepper and other assorted current or former Vikings.

Lohan, who recently finished her alcohol rehab, was pulled over early this morning while chasing the mother of her former personal assistant, who had just quit. Not surprisingly, she was bombed off her ass (.13) and was found to have cocaine in her pocket. She was booked on two misdemeanor charges of suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving on a suspended license and two felony charges of possession of cocaine and transport of a narcotic. Yikes.

Britney's story on the other hand does not involve being charged with a crime, only a massive meltdown during an interview that she apparently requested. The editor-in-chief said that Britney was very "out of it" and pictures from the interview were so bad that they could ruin her career if they were published. At one point, she said, Britney's eyes rolled back into her head making her appear to be half dead. I don't even have a joke at this point.

The editor said Britney's mood would change every time she went to the bathroom and at one point she was paranoid that the ceiling was going to collapse on her head. I shit you not, the article says she was eating fried chicken and wiping her greasy hands on her several thousand dollar Gucci dress. Jesus Christ. It looks like found the new Courtney Love and we haven't even gotten rid of the old one yet.

I think that's enough of the freak show today.

*In other, less absurd celebrity news, Drew Carey has been chosen to replace Bob Barker as the host of the Price Is Right. I hear he's moving the show to Cleveland.

Britney Spears Reportedly Breaks Down In Interview
Lindsay Lohan Busted Again


Sorry Brady

Brady Quinn is a douche. There I said it. It’s taken me a long time but I have finally come to terms with the fact that of the best players for one of my favorite teams is a huge flaming tool. I ignored stories about how he used to model back when he was in high school. I looked past his penchant for posing without his shirt on and water dripping all over him (please don't click and just take my word on it) and talking endlessly about the workout plan that got him his perfectly sculpted body. When I heard a story about him walking up to a random girl at Notre Dame party and asking her for some “birthday head”, I just laughed. And then I laughed harder when I found out that it was her birthday and not his.

I was even happy for him when he got drafted by the Browns, a team I am used to hating as a Steelers fan. I felt bad that he dropped so far, but I figured it would be good for him to go to the team he grew up cheering for and a place where he would have a legitimate chance to make an immediate impact. Maybe dropping so far would even teach him to be a little less full of himself.

Well, judging by what Quinn has been up to lately, it doesn’t look his draft hit has translated into a hit to his ego. For starters, Quinn is planning on holding out and missing the start of training camp seeking an amount of money usually reserved for top ten draft picks. The only problem with this? He was the number twenty-two pick.

And most recently there is this story (found on 100percentinjuryrate) about how Quinn unexpectedly charged fans $75 for a signed picture and up to $225 for signed merchandise at an event at a Cleveland area mall. I wouldn’t spend the $1.15 I just paid for the Mountain Dew I’m drinking for a picture of this asshole. I really hope Quinn turns out to be a gigantic bust, and now its not just because he plays for the Browns.

Commissioner Issues, Etc.

There was a recent poll on ESPN asking which commissioner would you least like to be right now, and predictably most people said David Stern.

While Selig’s problem of Bond’s and the home run record is a nuisance, he could avoid some of the negative attention by sucking it up, going to the games and getting it over with. I think he’s handled this very poorly by making himself part of the story and adding to the controversy.

Goodell ‘s problem, while serious, will not affect the popularity of the league. It is a black eye that needs to be dealt with accordingly. It looks like he might have a pair of nuts after all. He told Mike Vick yesterday that he will be prohibited from attending training camp with the rest of the team. Now he hasn’t actually suspended him yet, but it looks like he’s not going to pull the “wait ‘til the legal system runs its course”, which I’ve said before would have been very hypocritical, considering the way he dealt with Pacman Jones.

Stern’s problem is by far the most serious. The issue is something that damages the credibility of the core of the league’s existence, the game itself. Making it worse, there isn’t really any definitive action he can take to counteract the negative perception. The official has already resigned and it’s basically in the hands of the Feds. I think the doubt that will linger over the NBA’s integrity will only fade over time. I’ll be interested to see what he says in his press conference today.

In other news

A follow up on the Jon Lester story from yesterday…he pitched pretty well in his return from cancer yesterday. With his parents watching he went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out six to earn the win. I’m not sure what’s going to happen to him when Schilling returns, but I hope they can make room for him because he’s worked so hard, and frankly, he deserves it.

I know how much you all love soccer stories, but this one might interest casual fans. It looks like Freddy Adu will be going to Portugal to play for powerhouse Benfica. Although the Portuguese league is not one of the premier leagues in Europe, it is probably the best of the second tier and they do get three teams into the Champions League every year. I think this is a great move for Adu and his development and I wish more U.S. players would do the same (cough, Landon Donovan).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tim Donaghy Lacks a Soul

The NBA point shaving scandal is becoming increasingly bizarre as more details are being brought to light. It is now being reported that Donaghy was involved with mobsters associated with the Gambino family, and has received death threats within the past few days. His family and friends, fearing for his safety, are urging him to enter the witness protection program, according to the New York Post.

Even more interesting though is the Post’s assessment of his character, specifically the story told by fellow West Chester native John Minutella. The retired dentist who plays golf at the course where the ref used work told how Donaghy put a dead bird in his golf bag, where he found it a day later covered with maggots. “Nobody wanted to play golf with him. I can’t say one nice thing about him. I believe this guy was almost soulless,” Minutella said. At least he didn’t kill the bird himself. I wonder what the dentist would have to say about Mike Vick.

NBA Ref Tim Donaghy Hit With Some Bad Calls

Rappers Have Guns

Lil Wayne and Ja Rule were both arrested on gun charges last night prompting numerous headlines attempting horrible jokes referencing their upcoming collaboration called “Uh Oh”. First of all, I’m not all that surprised by the news as I am stunned that Ja Rule is still producing “music”. I mean he was doing so great with his acting career.

Legal problems for rappers are always fun because we get to hear their real names. Jeff Atkins (Ja Rule) was found to be in possession of an illegal .40 caliber when his luxury sedan was pulled over for speeding. Dwayne Carter (Lil Wayne) was spotted smoking pot behind his tour bus. After searching him police also found a .40 caliber handgun which he was shockingly not licensed to carry. In the past Carter has spoken about his weapon of choice saying, “.40 cal keep cocked nigga ready to block, keep a gun, extra clip homey, that’s how we rock.” Hmm.

Golf, PS3 and Jon Lester

I woke up at around 11:30 Sunday morning just in time to see the last five holes for Sergio and Harrington. I couldn’t have been happier with the finish, and not just because my boy Padraig won. As a casual golf fan, it was great to see an ending to a major that featured drama and two marquee names seeking their first major. The playoff was great too because it offered both players a chance for redemption after it appeared that the tournament would be won by the golfer who choked less. In the end Harrington just made more shots and put the pressure on Garcia. Don’t worry Sergio fans, he’ll get his chance.

I didn’t get a chance to watch the Bernard Hopkins-Winky Wright fight on Saturday, but the ESPN.com write-up was pretty interesting. It sounds like Hopkins conserved his energy by picking his spots and fighting sporadically in the early rounds and possibly gaining an advantage by opening a cut above Wright’s eye with one or more head butts. I’d be interesting to hear someone’s thoughts who actually saw the fight (Buzz?).

In a related note, I fought the Hopkins-Wright match on Fight Night for PS3. Winky and I suffered our first TKO in the 8th round when the cut and swelling over our left eye was so bad that he couldn’t see. Very disappointing, especially because I lost $20.

The Red Sox-Indians game tonight on ESPN2 will feature Jon Lester making his first MLB start since his recovery from cancer. It should be a pretty emotional introduction even though the game isn’t at Fenway. Cancer isn’t something anyone should have to deal with, let alone a kid who is about the same age as all of us here at this site. Regardless of what Lester does tonight or the rest of the year, you can’t say enough about the heart he’s shown just to get to this point. Hopefully tonight is a special night for him.

A Team USA Update

I stumbled across something called the State Farm challenge tonight which turned out to be a scrimmage between Team USA's basketball team. By the way, I find it extremely annoying when people refer to every national team as "The Dream Team". There was only one Dream Team. I'm pretty sure that no one's "dream" team includes Mike Miller's disgusting hair. Anyways, the game actually turned out to be pretty exciting. The Blue team made up a double digit fourth quarter deficit to win by one. Kobe hit a jumper to give them the lead with 6 seconds left while Lebron missed a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer. This game wasn't as worthless as it seemed however. Currently there are 17 players on the roster but it has to be whittled down to 12 for the start of Olympic qualifying and a couple players surprised me with strong efforts. The aformentioned Mike Miller led the White team in scoring with 22 points in just 24 minutes. However, it should be noted that he shot 15 three pointers. I'm not even sure how it's possible for him to get off that many three pointers in such a short period. He pretty much has to the worst player on the floor at all times right? Regardless, Miller proved he can knock down an open shot, something Team USA desperately needs. The other player that really surprised me was Kevin Durant. He also went off for 22 points in 24 minutes and at times looked unstoppable. He was able to score from beyond the arc, by hitting jump shots and slashing to the rim. I realize he was unreal in college but I didn't expect the same kind of performance right away against NBA players.

I'm not going to write about all the struggles that the national team has had lately because frankly, they're all lame excuses in my eyes. I realize that the foreign teams spend much more time together and therefore are able to beat us with team oriented basketball. However, that doesn't take away the fact that our teams are overwelmingly more talented. There has to be a way to get these guys together for about a couple weeks and make them buy into the idea of playing as a team and setting aside their egos. The problem is that just about every single one of these guys is used to being the go-to-guy so it's difficult for them to take a backseat to anyone else. They're attempting to add some continuity to the team by making everyone commit two years at a time and they're also trying to add role players such as Shane Battier and Tyson Chandler. I guess we'll see how this all works out in Beijing.

Back to the current roster; five guys need to be cut from this team. Here's the box score from the game which lists all the available players. Redick obviously needs to go. This was painfully obvious during the game. I also think that Billups should be cut. Nevermind the fact that hes an arrogant douche, but the team has enough point guards as is and his skills are declining. Who knows how bad he'll be by the time the Olympics start. I also think that Miller should be off. The team doesn't need another player willing to throw it up every time they get the ball. Tyson Chandler doesn't make the cut either. There's just too much depth in the frontcourt and his defensive skills don't come close to making up for his offensive deficiences. For the last cut I would reccomend Carmelo. I realize that he's an excellent scorer but he needs the ball entirely too much. He doesn't play the type of game that translates well to International play. Of course he's definitely going to be on the team so that means Hinrich or Battier is probably going to be the last one to go.

To wrap this up, I think the perfect starting lineup would be Kidd, Kobe, Lebron, Bosh, and Howard. That team would be able to run everyone else off the court. Kidd has a knack for finding the open guy and Lebron would have no problem letting Kobe be the man. As much of a douche as Kobe is he's the most unstoppable player on the planet. I'll feel pretty confident with the ball in his hands with the clock winding down. Who knows what's going to happen though. I'm sure we'll lose to Brazil or some garbage like that. I wouldnt' even really be happy if we won anything at this point. I'd just be relieved.