Compared to the idiocy of the Daytona 500 and the NBA All-Star game/weekend, this was a relatively quiet week for me in terms of infuriating things. And then Bud Selig's slowly melting face had to go and ruin things.
Led off by the thing that's undoubtedly going to harm the Phillies' title hopes in some way, here are a couple things that really ground my gears this week.
1. The new MLB playoff structure.
I detailed my distaste with this system in this lengthy post, but it bears restating. As far as I can tell, there was zero fan support for these changes, they result in a dilution of the meaning of wild card competition, and most importantly they create a a near-definite probability of a deserving team being knocked out of the playoffs by virtue of losing a single arbitrary game. Major League Baseball needs a Mark Cuban. He would never have let this happen.
2. Bill Simmons. Bill Simmons is basically me, if I ever became a really famous writer: barely writes at all, and only about the stuff he's already paying attention to. Also, kind of like me on this blog. But for proof, here are the last 25 (TWENTY-FIVE!) of Bill Simmons' entries to Grantland in reverse chronological order: Podcast, podcast, podcast, story on the Celtics, podcast, podcast, mailbag, podcast, mailbag reprint(!), story on the NBA All-Star teams, podcast, podcast, podcast, story on the Super Bowl, podcast, mailbag, podcast, NBA season review part 2, podcast, NBA season review part 1, NBA season review prelude, mailbag, podcast, mailbag, podcast.
Let's use some ADVANCED STATISTICAL ANALYSIS to break down this information a little further. This record stretches back to January 12, or over the last 53 days, so Simmons is only posting at a rate of one item every other day. Fourteen of his entries, or 56 percent, have been podcasts, and his article-to-podcast ratio is just .79! Of his eleven articles, five were mailbags, which is bullshit. Of the remaining six articles, five had to do with the NBA and two with specifically Boston (one was both).
The conclusion: if you went to Grantland at any time in the past 7 1/2 weeks and wanted to read Simmons' original thoughts on a non-NBA, non-Boston team, YOU COULDN'T DO IT BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T EXIST. God damn it, Bill Simmons. Just retire. Katie Baker, you're the only blogger for me.
3. Ilya Bryzgalov. Ok, so he doesn't really deserve to be on here this week. His post-All Star break numbers are actually pretty good (6-3-2, 2.03 GAA .920 SV%), which is baffling. I'm trying not to be infuriated about not being able to rip on him, since that's technically a good thing. But I forgot to list him last week and he's got a lot of catching up to do.
4. American sports leagues playing games in different countries. Look, I get that Japanese people are really into baseball. Scandinavians love hockey. Europeans dig basketball, and apparently the British love the NFL or something. But this is AMURRICA. Those countries have their own leagues in those sports, and they're shittier than ours, and that's too bad. Americans don't need to be deprived of good old American sports so that other people can enjoy them. That's why there's pirated television streaming online. Baseball's opening day is supposed to be a sacred tradition, and instead the A's and Mariners will be kicking off the season alone in Japan on March 28. It makes me want to make an insensitive tsunami-related joke.
And one thing I loved!
March Madness is almost here, and I am already so excited. Isn't it amazing that the same collegiate athletic governing body that allows the BCS to run its football postseason has also managed to give us March Madness, the single most exciting tournament in America (and it's not even close, so don't try)? And this year, the first day of the second round (the most exciting round), March 17, also happens to be a Saturday and St. Patrick's day. You could legitimately make a case that it's going to be the best drinking day of the year. Is it good to peak early? With any luck, we'll be too drunk to care.