A friend's father is suffering from dementia and Yankees baseball seems to be about all he enjoys right now, so this Red Sox fan will be rooting for New York tonight against Cleveland in order that their season can continue.
The Dodgers are done. And here I was wondering about Dave Roberts for the Hall of Fame. That's a pretty dramatic choke job. Short series, anything can happen, etc., but when you finish twenty games in front of the team who beat you--that's a choke. Part of the reason for the choke is Mookie Betts, who is a nothing as a postseason performer. He has 220 postseason at-bats, which is more than a third of a season. Roughly. He's hitting .264. Okay. Middling. But with 4 home runs and 18 RBI. That's it. He doesn't perform under pressure, when it matters, and he's always been that way in a large sample size. Then there's Clayton Kershaw. Dreck as a postseason pitcher. I'm supposed to believe he's one of the five or ten best pitchers ever? He wouldn't be in my top fifty. If what I can say about you is that you're a regular season pitcher because you're something totally different in the postseason, you are not an all-time great to me. The all-time greats--allowing the sample is big enough--show that they're the best. Ted Williams didn't have the sample size. Betts and Kershaw most definitely do. It amazes me that the postseason almost never comes up when discussing a player's legacy. It's an afterthought. There's an obsession with regular season stats. Why? The competition is better in the playoffs. What I think about Betts and Kershaw is 1. They are both mentally weak (as athletic performers; I'm not talking about them as people) and 2. They thrive on beating up lesser opponents. You get a lot of games during the year against the latter.
The Astros are going to win the World Series and the Bills the Super Bowl. The thing with sports is you don't have to be right when you indicate what you expect to happen. That's almost beside the point. You have to have good reasoning. I watched that Bills-Chiefs game yesterday. Josh Allen doesn't quite have Patrick Mahomes' consistency, so I don't want to say he's as good right now. But he has games when it's very difficult for anyone else to get to that level, pretty much ever. He made two throws at the end of the game that I don't think anyone else can make. The first one was maybe, I don't know, thirty or forty yards out. The Chiefs sent everyone, and Allen had to get rid of the ball quickly. This meant that he threw off his back foot, but he delivered a long pass that hit the receiver in stride, in decent coverage. My first thought was, well, the Patriots don't have anyone who can come anywhere close to being able to do that. The second pass was to the outside of the end zone. With his free hand, he directed the receiver, then he threw this laser--but a laser with so much touch--that went over one defender and came down where it needed to come down, but also seemed to be on a line the entire time. I think this is their year. And I think he's the MVP. He's the perfect quarterback for what the league is right now. Elements of a classic pocket passer--the best elements--but can run when need be, without being an out and out runner with all of the injuries that brings. Can keep plays alive a long time, too. A different relationship with time. Mahomes also has that.
I find the Bob Kraft marriage to the forty-seven-year-old doctor thing quite gross, and rather scummy, on both their parts. I think he's a scummy guy. His wife's family set him up in business, so it's not like he was self-made. He may be some gifted businessman, but you don't talk business, right? I mean, it's not interesting. So the one thing he might be good at and have anything to say about with any intelligence--and I think that's unlikely--wouldn't even come up. If you had a brilliant mind, whatever you talk about is brilliant. I've heard many Bob Kraft interviews. He's not smart. He's not funny. He sounds like some old fuddy-duddy. What I am saying is is that it's different to me when Picasso, in his seventies, would enter into a union with a woman in her twenties. They were there for reasons that mattered, as one knows if they read the likes of Fernande Olivier's Loving Picasso. They should have been together. Two gifted people. You don't get one gifted person that often. When two such people find each other, that transcends age. The age does not matter. That's not Kraft and this woman. Same guy who goes to the Asian massage parlor for his regular hand jobs? Again, scummy. Always needs someone so much younger than he is since his wife died? Why? Scummy. So she can suck your balls? For appearance's sake? Obviously it's not love. And this woman. She'd marry an eighty-something-year-old retired plumber if it was the same guy with the same mind, same personality? If I were her, I'd be humiliated. Everyone would know what I was up to. Then I'm supposed to jerk this guy off? And everyone knows that? That I'll be doing it soon? I don't even think it was mostly money that motivated her. If you're like that, there's something wrong with you. Him too. Then they encourage it in each other. I think she wanted that life. Those parties. Those trips. To be seen wearing whatever dress at whatever event. To be up on TV for the Super Bowl. Not that the Patriots are going to go again in Kraft's lifetime, in my view. Scummy and gross.
Then there's Brady, who goes to a wedding right before his team's weekly game. Same guy who took ten days off, all of that. What are you doing, man? I told a friend yesterday that I could see Brady's life taking on the quality of an American tragedy. Brady is a bit like Gatsby. I don't think he can let go. I don't think he has anything, by which I mean of substance for the soul. If the only thing you have is the sport you play--I don't mean financially, I mean for fulfillment--you're in trouble. Take Picasso. Your only thing could be painting. Then you're okay. You will always have that fulfillment. Allowing you do it at the level you want to be doing it. I think Dylan is that way. This could be how it ends for Brady in the NFL. A .500 season, or a little better, an early playoff bouncing, or maybe not qualifying, and a broken home. People think that he's getting divorced because he came back to play. No one knows. Marriages don't usually come apart over one thing. I also don't think he's someone who partners up for love. I think he partners up for image and social ascendancy. I respect him as the ultimate player in that league, but not very much as a person. I think he wants to be seen as Prince Charming and he's avaricious that way. He's gone for appearance over anything else in many ways. I see desperation--all of those videos he makes--and narcissism. Perhaps this break-up was coming and that's why he came back. He didn't have anything else. I cannot see him being at all fulfilled as a post-career analyst or studio guy or whatever he'll be doing. I'd be surprised if he lasts doing that or is any good at it. He'll get another hot famous person and he'll pair up with her. Just do it all over again. I think his is a kind of soulless life. Best football player I've ever seen, though. Easily.
The Patriots' quarterback situation is quite simple to me, and it's the same as it was after last week. I don't think they have the guy on the roster who is going to win for them and win in the playoffs. I don't believe that's Mac Jones. I think it highly unlikely it's Bailey Zappe. What I know is this: Jones was bad this year. Two TDs, five interceptions. I don't believe he has an NFL arm. His problem is the opposite of Cam Newton, when it comes to throwing. Newton bounced the ball to people. Jones throws pop-ups. The ball is in the air for an age. He got in better shape, got stronger, and came back with the exact same noodle of an arm. I don't believe he can throw at the level you have to throw at. I also don't think he's a leader. He looks and sounds like Matt Saracen. I think he's been coddled. This is a guy who probably had a throwing coach at age seven. I think he's entitled. Also, when you get hurt early, chances are almost always that you're going to keep getting hurt. I don't think he's tough. Listening to him scream over a high-ankle sprain? Lawrence Taylor didn't just break your leg.
I could be wrong. He might be what they need. I just really don't think so. Here's what I think about Zappe: he has a much better arm. That's everyone, though. I think he's composed, and has an "it" quality that Jones doesn't. I think the team is playing for him. He could well be out of the league in three years. He may suck. But so far, he's doing what he needs to do, and they're getting results. I think he's more of a leader, presents more as a leader. He's helped get them back to .500. He has good energy on the field, a vibe, and the team is playing with energy. Mac Jones is a more of a moper. To me, there's no way Zappe doesn't play when it's going like this. What's the risk? You hurt Jones's feelings? If that wrecks him--and I've seen people say this, and that's why he must go back in--he wasn't the guy anyway. He wasn't anyone's guy. A wake-up call, a little humble pie, is not a bad thing when you're starting out.
This guy hasn't done anything yet. He's been--maybe--a touch better than mediocre. Zappe was as good yesterday as Jones has been at any time. Teams will scheme against Zappe, and he'll probably not be able to cut it. But the team is winning right now, needs wins bad, and is winning with him. He goes until it's not working or his play isn't what it has to be. If he's great and they lose, he stays. Because I think he's become soft and lost a lot of what made him great, I won't be surprised if Belichick puts Jones right back in there. I don't expect it to work, though, and he could get hurt again and you'll see Zappe once more. I never need to see Brian Hoyer in a Patriots uniform again, though. I think that guy is just collecting a check and has no interest in being in a game. He tapped out against the Packers. He took himself out. I'm sorry, but you signed up for this. I get that I feel a different way about concussions than most, because to me it's part of that game. Do away with the game, if you want. I have no problem with that. Football probably shouldn't exist. If I had kids, I wouldn't let them play. But make no mistake, concussion are what happen and what you sign up for. That's your choice. Guy got hit a little--and wasn't much--and he was taking himself to that tent. He just wants the check. Doesn't want to compete.
Watched a lot of that Alabama-Tennessee game. Fantastic game. Really is an achievement beating Alabama. They're essentially an NFL team. Mini-NFL team. Tight ship. But it's a pro operation. Pro coaching. Pro attention to detail.
In my readings I'm seeing just how much old time baseball guys esteemed Lefty Grove. They all rave about him. Some of these guys saw Bob Feller and Sandy Koufax and they say Grove threw harder. For most of his career, he only threw a fastball. Nothing else. Added the curve later. I think he's the fourth best pitcher of all-time behind Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Christy Mathewson.