July 22, 2003

Stuff to Chew on While I Ig...

Stuff to Chew on While I Ignore This Blog:
* Colby Cosh interviews three minor league baseball players, one of whom brings up Moneyball and Bill James to him.
* Tony Pierce chronicles the Coulter Klassic, the first act in what was an impressively elaborate bachelor party.
* William Greider's apparent wife Linda demonstrates that Bummed Bill has not cornered the family market on humorless misperception. (Thanks for the pointer, Greider-loving Steve Smith!) Speaking of not getting Bill James, this truly asinine Allen Barra column could be refuted, sentence by sentence, simply by quoting from James; yet this Barra column sings James' praises for his performance in a mock trial lawyered by Johnnie Cochran and Alan Dershowitz (no, I'm not making that up).
* Eric Neel deconstructs Dodger Stadium, including a completely gratuitous yet appropriate plug for Tacos Delta.
* Luke Ford and Kevin Roderick (and Amy Alkon and David Poland) duke it out over whether Kobe Bryant's accuser should be named.

OK! Back to the madness. Will someone please leave a few jokes in the comments section?

Posted by at July 22, 2003 09:02 PM

You know, I used to think that the exercises in autoproctoscopy that Tom Boswell wrote in his quest to deny Barry Bonds the 2001 NL MVP award (in which he demonstrated that he had *no* grasp of any baseball statistics invented after 1950--including the one he, well, invented) were the worst excuses for sports columns that I'd ever see--but this Barra guy beats him hands down. You don't need Bill James to demolish this guy--an eight year old with a nasty temper and a hookup to ESPN.com could do just fine. You've got to love how he sneers at players having fine seasons and ones who are clearly on HOF tracks with charming consistency. I loved his comment "Bonds is 39 years old." Yeah, and he's leading the majors in home runs, on-base-percentage, and slugging percentage. Useless old fart, he is.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at July 22, 2003 09:32 PM

Mr. Welch,

I'm glad you too saw that insipid Barra article. It was a cosmic letdown, with so many logical fallacies I don't know where to start. What's odd, though, is that Barra would be the last person you would peg to author such garbage. He's a fan of unusual and contrarian statistics in sports, as this Weekly Standard debate - http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/000/874suovu.asp - proves. Moreover, the overarching point of his Slate article - that all the good ones are gone - would seem to directly be at odds with something Barra protested in a Salon magazine - http://www.salon.com/news/sports/col/barra/2002/10/25/bonds/index.html - article, which put forward Barry Bonds the best player of all time: "Whenever a new candidate for greatness comes along," Barra wrote, "he's always pushed into the background and told that he doesn't quite measure up to the heroes of the Golden Age of White Guys. Can you imagine this happening in basketball or football? Can you imagine someone telling Michael Jordan that he isn't quite as great as the great stars of the 1920s and '30s?" Can you imagine not reading anything you've written in the past year? Get this man a copy of "Moneyball," stat!

Posted by: Brian at July 22, 2003 11:27 PM

Konk konk
Whose their?
Its me Puce, your layz fat!

Posted by: Puce at July 23, 2003 04:28 AM

Even more bizarre is that Barra and James are as thick as thieves, or used to be. Barra's normally the furthest thing from an ignoramus. If anyone should know to beware of exercises like that one in _Slate_, it ought to be him. Perhaps he simply succumbed to Columnist's Disease--you're on deadline, your only idea is halfbaked, and subjecting it to any kind of analysis would leave you flat. Happens to the best of 'em the odd time.

Posted by: Colby Cosh at July 23, 2003 08:34 AM

Tom Glavine's, Roger Cedeno's, Mike Stanton's and Mo Vaughn's contracts with the Mets.

Oh, wait, you mean funny jokes.

Posted by: Crank at July 23, 2003 10:13 AM

A horse walks into a bar, and orders a drink. The bartender serves him.

John Kerry walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender asks, "Why the long face?"


Howzat, Matt?

Posted by: Rand Simberg at July 23, 2003 12:26 PM

I tried writing something on the Barra column a couple of times, but I became too apoplectic to finish, or even string together a coherent sentence. ("So what's new about that?")

Barra knows better, I'm sure. I think the column is probably largely due to Slate and its bizarre sports coverage. In baseball in particular, it seems to mostly consist of saying insane things. ("Jason Giambi is a bust!") I mean, Barra popularized OPS, and then he goes around using batting average of all things to say some player isn't any good?

There is a point to be made about the players on the All-Star Teams maybe not measuring up, but that's due to the modern idea that the teams should be picked according to whoever had the best first three months of the season, rather than picking actual stars.

Posted by: Mac Thomason at July 23, 2003 12:48 PM

Mac -- Speaking out my ass here, I seem to recall the first-three-months theory has *always* been the case, but moreso 20 years ago, as the fan-votes got better and better. And I'm not altogether convinced that it's bad, anyway -- Melvin Mora will probably have one hell of a year, and what's so bad about honoring the guy? Darrin Erstad was a legitimate All-Star in 2000, and pretty much an offensive bust before and after ... so should he have been an All-Star? Hell yeah, I say!

Posted by: Matt Welch at July 23, 2003 12:56 PM

I got this one from your pal Eric Alterman--there is this annual convention of comedians, and to amuse themselves, they have a joke-off; each person will get up on stage and tell jokes, trying to out-do everyone else. However, everyone there is so familiar with the jokes that to save time, they just refer to them by number, rather than repeating the entire joke.

Anyways, comedian after comedian gets up, says a number like "21", "55", "89", and get laughs of the polite variety. Finally, one comedian, obviously just starting out, nervously adjusts his tie and blurts out, "114". The audience explodes; people in the audience are literally coughing up their body organs with laughter. An observer, confused about the reaction, asks one of the pros, "why was that number so funny"?

To which the comedian replied, "Because no one had heard that one before."

Posted by: Steve Smith at July 23, 2003 01:51 PM

So these two goats walk into a bar. The first goat's all like, "Any sumbitch calls me a goat, I'm cold gonna clock his ass."

The bartender looks over at the goats and mumbles.

"Looks like that bartender goon gonna get it quick-like," says Goat #2.

Then the bartender shoots both goats with some sort of rifle or shotgun, I forget which.

Posted by: Ken Layne at July 23, 2003 05:12 PM

didn't i already send you my "answer to u.s. foreign policy" joke? made it up myself n everthing!

world cup. u.s. and iran are in the same group. they're in a nil-nil match with each other, two minutes left, when the captain of the iranian side takes a dive in the u.s. penalty area and draws a penalty kick. he converts it, natch, and iran holds on to win. enraged u.s. supporter clambers onto the field and decks the guy.

what happened next?

the shiite hit the fan.

Posted by: alex at July 25, 2003 02:51 PM

I'm going to get in so much trouble for this joke:

The only seat available on the train was directly adjacent to a well dressed middle aged French woman and the seat was being used by her dog. A weary American traveler asked, "Ma'am, please move your dog. I need that seat." The French woman looked down her nose at the American, sniffed and said, "You Americans. Your are such a rude class of people. Caradio" id="forget" name="bakecookie" onclick="forgetMe(this.form)" value="Forget Info" style="margin-left: 15px;" />

ir, you've thrown the wrong bitch out the window."

Posted by: Rossz at July 25, 2003 03:40 PM

Q. What do you call a Filipino contortionist?
A. A Manilla Folder!

Q. Why do farts smell bad?
A. So deaf people can enjoy them too!

Q. What do you call a homosexual midget?
A. Sweet 'N' Low!

Try the veal, tip your waitress, drive safely, I'm here all week.

Posted by: Gotta Milyin Ofvem at July 26, 2003 12:22 PM

Hey Matt! You're the "friend Matt" in Eric's review of Edison Field, I assume.

Surely you're going to put up a link to it, right?

Posted by: John Thacker at July 28, 2003 02:51 PM

This joke uses some foul language.

Two guys are talking. The first guy says:

"You know what I *hate*? When you want to say one thing, and then something totally different comes out.... Whaddaya call that -- like the other day I was at the circus with my wife and kids. The trapeze artists came out and of course what I meant to say was, 'What a cunning array of stunts!' but what came out was 'What a stunning array of cunts!' I was mortified!"

Second guy: "I know what you mean. It's called a Freudian slip and it happen to me all the time. Why just the other day I was sitting at the dinner table with my wife and kids, and of course what I meant to say was 'Honey, would you please pass the salt?' but what came out was, 'You fucking bitch, you ruined my life!'"

Posted by: Scott MacMillan at July 29, 2003 06:01 AM

Oh, and look, Barra believes in recycling. At least his point is a little clearer here, misguided as it is.

Posted by: Mac Thomason at July 29, 2003 10:46 AM
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