I am looking at Tom Brady's statistics for the season, because I think the Patriots have a better chance to win the Super Bowl than they did last year, and all I'm hearing is how bad they are. Both locally and nationally. Assuming they win this Sunday, they'll finish 11-5, and have a bye. Barring a fluke play in Miami, which would not have resulted in the same outcome if the same play were attempted 200 other times, they would have been 12-4, which is what they were last year, and what they were in 2014 when they won the Super Bowl. I see a team that can defend, with a better running attack than in some time, with health, and also a coach and a quarterback who are the best at what they've ever done, having "down years." But is the quarterback really having a down year?
Last year Brady completed 66.3 of his passes in an MVP campaign. That's pretty damn good. This year, with lesser receivers--meaning, no Amendola, a mercurial, not fully-integrated Josh Gordon for a dozen games, Edelman off of an injury, Gronkowski injured--he's completing 65.4% of his passes. Pretty close, right? Last year he threw for 4577 yards; this year he's at 4105 with a game to play. He probably gets to 4300, maybe 4400. When Brady wins the MVP, as he has done three times, his seasons have one especially pointed statistical commonality: a high TD to INT ratio. Last year he threw 32 TDs against 8 INTs. This year he is at 25 and 11. But: 6 of those 11 were off of deflections, drops, running the wrong route. He could easily be 25 and 5. In other words, if you allow that his stats might fall off 1 or 2% because of the shifting receiver corps quality, he is essentially the exact same statistical player in 2018 as he was in 2017.
So when Rodney Harrison says he's never seen Tom Brady look like this, what's he seeing? I see the same guy. The numbers are the numbers. They're not made from magic.
I pitched something on baseball's Hall of Fame today, pegged to the release of the writers' voting totals in January. I would not put Mariano Rivera into the Hall of Fame. I think you have to not only look at what a player has done, but what a player has cost his team. And I can think of no other player who is the reason that his team did not win two championships. But Rivera was the reason the Yankees did not win in 2001 and 2004. That counts for nothing? You cannot be demerited? I look at the Yankees teams that won championships, and I don't see a single squad--maybe in 1996, before he was even the closer--who would not have won, and would not have won with the same degree of difficulty, without Rivera. I think little of closers and their saves. To me, a closer has to be someone who goes more than one inning, who comes in with runners on, who gets up around 90 innings a year. I think Rivera's career was quite meaningless.
Watched Russia handle the Danes today at the World Juniors easily by a score of 4-0. The Dane had to work their asses off to keep the score there. They had lost to Canada 14-0 yesterday. Canadian teams usually start slowly in international tournaments and then round into form, so that interested me.
Interesting when looking at the baseball Hall of Fame's statistical dossiers on the players on this year's ballots to note that they only use counting stats--trad counting stats--and nothing like WAR, even though WAR is a counting stat. A hugely misleading one. But still. The Hall emphasizes RBI, hits, home runs, that kind of thing. WAR is better at telling you who is not that good more so than it is who is that great. For instance: Nolan Ryan. WAR is a counting stat in that the longer you play, the bigger your WAR will be. Addition. Nolan Ryan played 27 MLB seasons, and yet his WAR was barely over 80. Pete Rose played 24 MLB seasons and his WAR was under 80. Nolan Ryan barely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, if that. He is in the Hall of Fame for one reason: strikeouts. Outs matter, not the make of the out. The make of the out is utterly irrelevant. That's like looking at a player's goals in hockey and giving more weight to each goal that was scored on a rush where you beat two men, over a tip-in. Doesn't matter. A goal is a goal. An out is an out. Pete Rose, meanwhile, was a very good singles and doubles hitter, who stuck around for a long time. He'd be an average Hall of Fame, maybe a little above average.
I do not have a vote, but if I did have one, I'd give it to Clemens, Bonds, Schilling, McGriff. That's it. No one else here is a Hall of Famer to me. The steroids--I don't really care. Bonds was one of the three best players ever--maybe the second best--and Clemens was one of the three best pitchers ever, maybe the best. Schilling had far more value to me than Pedro Martinez. He was a main reason teams won championships. Martinez never was. He was also the best postseason pitcher of all-time. McGriff should have been in years ago. What's more, he was an awesome postseason performer for a long time. Look at his postseason numbers. He is the rich man's Harold Baines.
I saw that 98.5 The Sports Hub beat WEEI badly in the fall ratings. Gee, WEEI, maybe you should try bringing in a new voice belonging to someone actually, perish the thought, with talent? Maybe that would help. Meanwhile, 98.5 is something else. Felger and Massarotti really are the biggest talents they have. That is saying something. Massarotti reminds me of that little rat dude who hangs out with Jabba the Hutt. Or the bully's sidekick--you know, that little whiny kid--in A Christmas Story. I just looked up that little rat dude's name. It's Salacious Crumb. Ha! Who named these characters in Star Wars! Salacious Crumb? So, like, the broken off parts of a cookie that like to hump? People should call Massarotti that. He is so Salacious Crumb. But I flipped on the simulcast today. They had Marshall Hook as the host with the two regulars out. As the main guy. He's, what, somewhere in his fifties? This journeyman is your third-stringer? That's the best you can do? He loves his voice. Guys like this crack me up. He's kind of like Kyrie Irving. The latter is so narcissistic that somewhere along the line he got it into his head that he was this peerless intellectual. So he talks and talks and talks and tries to use what he thinks of as "big words" and he clearly has no clue what they mean. That's what Hook does. He winds up for this big word moment with this yawn-inducing preamble, and then, and then, and then, boom! big word! Which he inevitably uses incorrectly. He's bad. And his co-host was even worse. He was just a big nothing. Flatter than soda that you left out for ten days.
Here are some free radio tips. Never say, "You know." With these people it's "you know, you know, you know." And when it is your turn to talk, just go. Go straight into what you have to say. It's called pace. It's called command. It's the flow of a show. It gives you, right off, the aura of confidence and fluidity. Don't start with, "Well..." You know it's your turn to talk. Go into what you have to say. Just go into it. No gathering pause. It's like picking the bathing suit fabric out of your ass crack up on the diving board at the Olympics. Just get up there and dive. Don't pick your ass. This is just the most basic radio shit. No one can educate these people? The producer doesn't say anything? No one taught me. I went on the radio one day, and it was obvious the best way to do it. So I did it that way.
Also pitched things on Laurel and Hardy, the Beatles (two things, actually), Jackie Robinson's role in film history, and Hitchcock's English pictures, specifically, Blackmail. Salacious Crumb! He looks ruminative here, like he's thinking, "What can I really be in this life, saddled with such a name as that which I possess? Am I more cosmic joke than cosmic bugaboo? Is there another of my ilk out there in the cosmos? Does it matter? Do I matter? Where did I put my Sartre? Where did I put my Sartre? And my rum."