Category: Writer/Editor: Kyle Scott (page 1 of 1009)

The Phillies Bought a Computer

Amaro

On the day after ABC aired an episode of Modern Family, a major prime time sitcom, that was set on a Macbook screen and shot entirely on an iPhone, we learned that the Phillies entered the 21st century by buying a computer.

David Murphy, reporting on the most analytically-challenged team in all of major American professional sports:

Perhaps most significant, the Phillies are investing more than a million dollars in the building of a proprietary computer information system they hope will play a similar role to the Red Sox’ well-known Carmine system, serving as a database for scouting reports, medical histories, statistical models, and more.

The Cubs began building their own computer system in 2012, shortly after luring Theo Epstein, the man who built Boston’s formidable analytics prowess, away from the Red Sox and naming him president. One of Epstein’s early moves was to sign Cuban prospect Jorge Soler to a 9-year, $30 million contract. Compared with the $63 million the Red Sox committed to the signing of Yoan Moncada, maybe you can put a price tag on prescience.

“We haven’t gotten to the point where we want to get to yet,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “but we are making that transition and adding to our arsenal, as far as information is concerned. It’s not the first time we’re dealing with it. We’ve utilized analytics in the past, but we’re putting a little bit more emphasis on it and we’re trying to be creative with it.”

Thus far, Ruben hasn’t yet been able to clear the 9×9 cell level of Minesweeper,” added a high-level front office exec with knowledge of Amaro’s computing habits. “But, we’re working on it.”

Joke’s aside, this is a good thing, I guess? Better late than never, right? Problem is: As long as Ruben Amaro and Pat Gillick are in charge (Gillick was quoted as saying “We won five years in a row, and we don’t consider ourselves an analytic organization”), this is never going to become a thing. Just the mindset of we won without them before is flawed, because it fails to consider the fact that, within the last five years, virtually every team has started using analytics, thus putting the Phillies at an extreme disadvantage. Without front office changes, their buying a big, fancy computer is like a phone booth maker adding a cell phone charging station inside its latest model and calling it a day. This should solve our problems! Just need a minor adjustment here. Right back on track!

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Oh Nos! The Toddfather Hath Departed

Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple reports that Todd Herremans has been released by the Eagles. He was technically the longest tenured player on the team and had a cap figure of $5.8 million next season. By cutting him, the Eagles will save about $2.8 million in cap space.

It’s interesting how, in a little over 12 months, the Eagles’ offensive line as gone from a strength to a question mark, at best.

Presumably, Herremans was informed of his release by the team before reports surfaced.

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Pat Burrell Will Be Inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame, Your Woman’s Heart

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The Phillies announced today that Pat Burrell will be inducted into their Wall of Fame:

Left fielder Pat Burrell will become the 37th inductee into the Phillies Wall of Fame on Friday, July 31, prior to the 7:05 p.m. game vs. the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

“It’s a tremendous honor and privilege to be added to the Wall next to Philly’s all-time greats,” said Burrell. “My family and I couldn’t be more grateful for the support from fans. Their votes are the reason that I will now be enshrined in Phillies history.”

Can’t wait.

Side note: I have it on good authority that the last time Burrell was honored in Philly, in May of 2011 to retire as a Phillie, he invited the guys responsible for the don’t let your girl get Burrelled video to the game… and spent the days and weeks before and after it texting the girl from the video, who was dating one of the guys in the group. So, yeah, Burrell was trying to Burrell (v.) the girl in the video about him Burrelling girls. God he’s a legend.

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RADIOBLOGWARS: It Looks like We’ve Gone to the Mattresses

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This would prove to be a source of much contention 

Tony Bruno and Josh Innes had me on their show today to basically have a debate about my previous post– that CBS Philly and WIP running with reports about Dez Bryant from Terez Owens is reckless at best. All fair, all part of this silly little February game. But the conversation quickly turned to our RADIO WARS coverage, which often focuses on Josh and the recent turmoil at WIP. You might imagine how things devolved from there. The audio is here.

Innes pressed me on my continuous reporting that he’s operations manager Andy Bloom’s “boy.” Which he is, according to the numerous people I’ve spoken to over the last year. Bloom, whose career is still a thing partly because he played a role in bringing Howard Stern to the Philly airwaves some time ago (many people have told me, separately, that he seems to think Innes is his next Stern), has put his eggs in Josh’s basket. That’s not a slight to Innes, or even Bloom, but it’s reality, or at least the best version of reality that anyone can possibly report.

Then Bloom, whom I’ve never had a conversation with in my life prior to today, saw an opportunity for classic, 90s shock jock radio sitting on a tee and jumped in the studio, calling me a “fraud” and a “first-rate a-hole” and accusing me of F-ing over people’s lives. Like a big, gravelly-voiced baby, Bloom explained how he had a problem with our (almost entirely accurate) coverage of the changes at his station. He may not have liked it*, and I get that, but that’s his problem. And I can’t help it if a good number of his employees, ex-employees and competitors think he’s a joke.

*Even if we basically served as an extension of WIP’s PR department with all of our posts about the new Afternoon show, including the one about his stupid-ass idea to give Innes a fake suspension– also accurate, by the way.

I pressed him for an example on the F-ing over people’s lives thing, because I was generally perplexed by that one, but Bloom, bravely, walked out of the studio after encouraging me to call him in his office. Which I did.

Typically, out of respect, I’d extend the professional courtesy of keeping a private conversation off-the-record, even if no such terms were discussed or even implied. But, when you call me an asshole on live radio without even attempting to explain the statement, you lose my respect. Continue reading

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Reporting on Dez Bryant Thing Is an Absolute Mess

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There might very well be a video of Dez Bryant making a Will It Blend? video with a baby or something similarly heinous, but I’m skeptical. Either way, this is how rumors spiral out of control: This CBS Philly-WIP story, citing an extremely unsubstantiated “report” about Bryant from Terez Owens, is now the most up-voted result when you search “Dez Bryant” on Reddit, the second hottest Dez Bryant result of the day on the site, and currently sitting atop the /r/Eagles subreddit.

That’s CBS Philly, a decidedly mainstream outlet, with a name that instantly legitimizes anything it gives credence to, throwing the “report” tag on the “five times worse” line, which came from a rumor-mongering gossip site that once reported that Russell Wilson is gay, thus legitimizing the so-called report. And as I write this, Joey, who runs Terez, is on WIP with Josh Innes (who compared Terez Owens to us and Deadspin*) and Tony Bruno, and said he hasn’t seen the video, hasn’t seen a screenshot, but “heard from a buddy who is kind of an insider from that angle” that there’s a bad Dez Bryant video. “I peddle smut,” he said, before reiterating that he doesn’t actually know if there’s a video.

Maybe there is a video that is “five times worse” than the Ray Rice video, but that doesn’t excuse the media’s embarrassing handling of this.

*Bullshit. Imagine if I did all this with the Riley Cooper video without actually seeing it– people would’ve slaughtered me. 

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UPDATE: Eric Lindros Is Suing Former Referee Paul Stewart and The Huffington Post for Libel

Photo credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

FINALLY. After more than five years of doing this, I finally get to experience the joy that is blogging about Eric Lindros drama.

Lindros is suing former referee Paul Stewart and The Huffington Post over a column Stewart wrote for the website in which he made Lindros look like a – quote – “dickhead.” From TSN in Canada:

Eric Lindros has launched a $3 million defamation lawsuit against one-time NHL referee Paul Stewart and the Huffington Post, after Stewart wrote a column for the online news website that allegedly made the former Philadelphia Flyers star forward look like a “dickhead.”

In documents filed in an Ontario court, Lindros says his reputation has been sullied after Stewart wrote about his poor on-ice relationship with Lindros, which was capped by an incident when Lindros allegedly tore up posters he was asked by Stewart to autograph for a charity.

Lindros has asked a court to award him $2 million in general damages and another $1 million in aggravated damages. He has also asked the court for an injunction that would prevent Stewart, the Huffington Post, and its U.S. owner AOL, from continuing to publish Stewart’s allegedly defamatory statements.

[UPDATE: Tim Panaccio reports, on Twitter, that Lindros is suing Stewart and AOL for only $150k, not $3 million. I’d link to it, but Tim blocked me like a big baby and I can’t see his original Tweet. So you’ll just have to take my word for it.]

Here’s what Stewart wrote back in July: Continue reading

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I Might Be Wrong, But This Dez Bryant Video Thing Sounds like a Bunch of BS

Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

So there are reports of a tape which shows Dez Bryant doing something five times worse than Ray Rice (killing a small child and eating it?). It’s Twitter’s rumor du jour. Actually, it’s the rumor du mois– it’s been going around for a few weeks now. Is it true? Maybe. Maybe not. As an Eagles fan, I kind of want it to be. As a human, I want it to all be just a big scam. Either way, I wouldn’t put too much stock in the “reports.”

The main one comes from uber-gossip-blog Terez Owens, which makes this site look like The Atlantic. When Mike Missanelli decries bloggers as being misinformed, irresponsible jackasses, he might as well be talking about Terez (who runs an entertaining site, but whom I’m guessing would admit to routinely throwing shit at walls based on barely-vetted tips, rumors and day-old gossip). Here’s what TO wrote:

The incriminating video of Dallas Cowboys superstar receiver Dez Bryant doing something supposedly Ray Rice worthy is being released today or tomorrow. According to our source, the Cowboys haven’t done a huge deal with Dez because of concern over the video. Unfortunately Bryant’s team won’t be able to stop the tape from getting out to the public. Of course Cowboys COO Stephen Jones denies knowledge of such a video. This is going to be a game changer for the Cowboys future. UPDATE: We’re being told the Cowboys have warned Dez the tape is going to be released, and from someone who has seen it, that it’s five times worse than the Ray Rice Video. His football career is in jeopardy according to our source. Also a Dez insider tells us he is being brainwashed by Jay Z and Roc Nation Sports.

Now, actual news outlets are running with that “report,” including the Seattle Sun Times and, predictably, CBS Philly. And Sean Brace, just now on the radio, blamed websites and blogs for fanning the flames because they have no one to answer to and it’s all about “page clicks”… meanwhile, they’ve spent the last 10 minutes talking about it on 97.5 and are bringing on someone from Dallas to discuss further.

Worse, Mike Florio, ostensibly a reporter, went on the radio in Dallas and said the tape is a big deal and everyone is talking about it… but he doesn’t know if it exists.

The media is so, so desirous for this to be an actual thing.

Further: Today, some hip hop producer (always reliable) tweeted the following [aggregated]: Continue reading

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Marcus Hayes Wrote Some Drivel Today

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1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 4, 2, 1, 1, 5, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 4, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 1.

Do you know what that sequence of numbers represents?

No, it’s not the transcript of an interview with The Count.

Nor is it the final thought of a dying Speak & Spell.

Nope.

Those are the sentence-per-paragraph counts from Marcus Hayes’ latest Daily News column.

Hayes, a leading columnist(?) for a big boy publication, wrote a ~1,000-word article that contained only three – 3! – paragraphs longer than three sentences in length. Unofficially, there were 29 one-sentence paragraphs.

That’s bad.

Laughable even.

I doubt it makes many teams sweat.

Any team, for that matter.

How can one sweat from reading such rudimentary prose?

Anyway, as you might have guessed, Hayes’ piece is another hit on Sam Hinkie, who has a philosophy, not a plan, according to Hayes.

It’s mostly drivel, so I won’t waste my time grammatically crinkling it up and tossing it into the digital wastebasket of the interwebs. But, let’s dumpster-dive for a few rare gems of opinionated blabble.

Dismissing Hinkie and his newfangled analytics:

But it is anything but a multifaceted “Plan” with mind-addling complexities suited only for analytics conventioneers.

The Philosophy is simple.

Hinkie and his front-office brain trust, of which Brown clearly is not a member, compile draft picks to acquire as many young, talented and cheap Assets as possible. They nurture them in their analytics-fueled playing style.

 

Contradictions on Embiid:

Embiid is a 7-footer with freakish athleticism. He is a once-a-decade talent. Embiid also spent his formative years playing volleyball. His practical experience includes two full seasons of high school basketball and 4 months as a part-time player at Kansas. He will need half-a-decade to realize his potential.

Embiid has shown competence at nothing except gaining weight and cleverly tweeting.

 

And on Noel (try not to get whiplash here):

The Sixers simply delayed their Point Guard Development Program to match the painfully slow metamorphosis of Nerlens Noel and Embiid.

Noel is an off-the-charts ballhound . . . who has shown almost no competence in a halfcourt offense, but that was expected.

 

On MCW:

MCW is a good player; surely, he cannot wait to display that tonight, when the Sixers visit him in Milwaukee. He has boundless potential. Anyone with his talent can improve; incredibly, his talent is being maliciously devalued. Carter-Williams is worth as much as any player the pick is likely to bring.

[Jim, mocking Hayes:  Embiid sucks. Noel sucks. MCW IS SO TALENTED.]

 

And yet, he continually pointed out that it was a good trade:

It makes no sense for MCW, 1 year from NBA competence, to wait 5 years for the franchise player to develop. Most NBA careers don’t even last half a decade. After losing, say, 240 games in his first four seasons, Carter-Williams surely would be willing to do anything to escape Lottery Pick Purgatory.

Having him waste good years in Philadelphia would have been foolish. A reigning rookie of the year with excellent size, fine offensive instincts and the ability to finish at the rim, MCW never will have greater trade value than the protected pick the Sixers got from the Lakers.

Considering the Philosophy, this was a splendid trade.

Lost in this iambic pentameter of shit is some legitimate skepticism born from first-hand observation (it’s almost like Hayes is a real columnist!).

Hayes wonders whether Brown will become discouraged by watching the fruits of his labor be enjoyed elsewhere.

A real concern.

He thinks the Sixers, and the champions of their “philosophy,” were wrong to tout MCW’s physical gifts and then sit idly by as a whisper campaign smeared the young point guard’s skill set.

A fair point.

And he wonders if continually kicking the can down the road is a dangerous, high-risk strategy that could horrifically backfire.

Me too.

But all these points fall on blind eyes because his anti-analytics, anti-Hinkie, anti-progress bias is so grotesquely one-sided that it’s nearly impossible to separate the legitimate concerns from the lazy, space-filling poop that emits from his fat fingers. Plop, plop…

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… fizz.

Horrific Daily News signage photos courtesy of (@phillygirl1985)

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