Happy birthday, theblog.net!
Yes, it was exactly one year ago today that Todd and I unleashed (or perhaps "unsheathed"...?) our collective non-genius on the information superhighway [/Gore], shocking and arousing readers THE WORLD OVER. Since then, the MWB, in either of its forms, has been entertaining 5 or 6 people with our dick and fart jokes, semi-homoerotic overtones, and quasi-amusing insults. Yes, that’s three hyphens in one paragraph. I thought you people knew me by now. Anywhoodle, on this most holy of days, a mere eight days shy of Bastille Day, we raise a glass to you, theblog.net. Here’s to many more years of keeping ourselves mildly entertained. Huzzah!
So, anyway, sports. The summer doldrums have rolled up in full force, as we have baseball to talk about and ... and ... Ugh. So anyways, stuff about baseball:
* Did anyone else think Kenny Rogers should have gotten a little bit more than a 20 game suspension? He’s just gonna miss like four starts, and I’m not sure that’s adequate punishment for acting like a 7th-grade bully and pushing around a cameraman who did essentially nothing (incidentally, I think the only thing that would have made the scenario more bizarrely amusing is if Rogers had given the cameraman a Unit-esque "You don’t talk back to me!" But alas). Now there’s talk about possibly keeping The Gambler out of the All-Star game, and people in Detroit love it because they think if Kenny gets booted, Jeremy Bonderman is gonna take his place. I don’t know, maybe. The kid IS the first Tiger since Bill Gullickson in 1991 to have 10 wins before the All-Star break, but, I mean ... they’re the Tigers, for Christ’s sake. They deserve to have one and exactly one player in the All-Star game, and since Guillen has been hurt for a month and a half, Mags has been hurt all season, and nobody is paying attention to them at all nationally, Pudge is the one on the team, despite his paltry 5 home runs and on-base percentage of .300 (yes, you read that correctly). Hey, that’s what having to go off the ‘roids will get you.
* Secondly, the Washington Nationals are 51-32, leading the NL East, and, barring a spectacular collapse, the odds-on favorite for the Wild Card, even if the Braves pass them. This is incredible for a couple of reasons. First, they’re essentially an expansion team, for the love of Boban. The Expos were worthless anyways. So the Washington Nationals, Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Colorado Rockies will each essentially have been created AND made the playoffs since the last time the goddamn Tigers even finished over .500. That is a near-unparalleled level of ineptitude. Ugh, it’s frustrating to even think about. But anywhoo, secondly, as I heard Rob Neyer point out this morning on the radio, it’s impossible to explain how the hell the Nationals are doing it. As pointed out in multiple resources, as well as Bill James’s pythagorean theorem of wins and losses, over the course of a season, the number of wins and losses you accumulate will basically stack up with the number of runs you score relative to the number that you give up. It’s a near-inescapable truth of baseball. Well, as Neyer pointed out, the Nationals are19 games over .500 through 83 games, and they’ve scored exactly the same number of runs as they’ve given up (340). That is astounding. Neyer said that he researched back almost 30 years and couldn’t find a single other team that had scored the exact same number of runs as they had allowed and were still as many as 19 games over .500 this late in the season. It may be unprecedented. The key to their first place push? A seemingly-impossible 23-7 record in one-run games. That means that out of every 10 one-run games the Nationals play, they win between 7 and 8 of them (and it actually rounds up to 8). Guh.
Lastly, if people haven’t yet noticed, CFN has put up their preseason top 10. Since college football is still a legitimate month and a half away, I’m not gonna get into it yet. I’m worried that if I start talking college football this early, the anticipation will kill me before I even get to mid-August. So I’m just gonna link to it. There you go. Enjoy. Ooh, Big Ten Preview is up, too. Tasty.