Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Let's see IF I can catch up on these: 2017 Week 5 Fine Blotter

Falling a bit behind on this, so there's a good chance I won't get all of these.

That said:
  • First things first:  As I said in the other recent blog post, Ezekiel Elliot, after losing two rounds of his latest court battle to overturn the NFL discipline process, won a temporary restraining order on Tuesday.  Next round is a show-cause on October 30 to indicate why a two-pronged appeal (in both New York and Texas) should be stopped.
So here's the beginnings of what I can find for Week 5, Spotrac helping out:
  • Carolina Panthers:  Luke Kuechly, $9,115 for a face mask.
  • Green Bay Packers:  Damarious Randall, $9,115 for taunting
  • Green Bay Packers:  Davante Adams, $6,076 for an illegal souvenir.
  • Houston Texans:  Marcus Gilchrist:  $24,309 for helmet to helmet.
And I've checked several sources - that's all I can find for Week 5.

Several Major NFL Points at the Six-Week Mark

  • Ezekiel Elliot has won another TRO after failing to get his case heard by a full appeals panel.
  • It's clear the NFL boycotts are working.  There are now banks and rating organizations who are cutting Fox and CBS stock price targets because of the decline in NFL ratings -- and this was after last year being the "Great" Trump Circus.
  • The NFL and the players sat down for a discussion on many topics on Tuesday, including the Anthem protests.  One cannot think, though, that the NFL is not going to try to look at ending these protests to satisfy MAGA America.
Now, a number of observations, including the big Rig Job of the Week...
  • When you can actually get Mike Greenberg on ESPN Radio to question the call that much for his beloved Jets, you know you have a problem...
It is clear that a number of the highlight clips do not want to give you a clear view of the Jets receiver on the far side of the field, heading for the pylon.  Though there is a moment where he may have lost arms on the ball, he clearly regains possession as he goes to the ground.

He is ruled on the field to have scored, but then it's reversed in the booth to a touchback and a win for the Patriots, eventually.

Why does this happen?

Well, let's take a look at the current NFL...
  • I have already had to tear up my 19-0 ticket, as Pittsburgh's win over Kansas City means we don't even make Week 6 before the last undefeated team loses!  Same week as last year.  Two recent years didn't even get to Week 4!!!
  • And it gets worse for the NFL when you start looking at the present landscape.
  • AFC:  1) AFC West:  Kansas City, 5-1.  2)  North:  Pittsburgh 4-2  3) East:  New England 4-2 and one less conference win.  (They do play in Week 15.)   4)  South:  Titans 3-3 (the Jaguars and Texans are also 3-3, but the Titans have one more division win)
  • Wild cards would be two of these three teams:  Buffalo, Miami, and Denver.
That, alone, should tell you why you saw that rig-job against the Jets.  If the Jets win that game, all four AFC East teams are 3-3!
  • NFC:  1) East:  Philadelphia 5-1.  2) North:  Minnesota 4-2.  3/4)  Carolina and the Rams at 4-2 with a worse conference record.
  • Wild Cards:  Washington, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Seattle are all 3-2.  (Yes, Green Bay is 4-2, but does anyone honestly believe that, with Rodgers and that brittle offense out for the year...)
Take one look at that landscape and try to storyline a compelling situation.

I'll wait.

2017 Week Six NFL Score Report

I still have to do last Friday's Fine Blotter.  Will get to at least some of it before I go to bed.

No comparisons on this one.  I think I forgot to do Week Six last year!

First the numbers, then the ratings, then a look around...
  • 48.14 points a game this week, including a 90-point monstrosity between New Orleans and Detroit featuring FIVE defensive touchdowns and a sixth off the special teams.  Season per-game average is up to 44.55.
  • First piece of big news this week:  Home teams went 6-8 this week, deepening the current hole to 43-46 for the season. That's right:  Road teams are 3 over .500.
  • The Over went 8-6 for 44-43-4.
  • And then to the biggest:  Only THREE NFL teams covered this week.   3-11 against the number.  Only Houston, New Orleans, and this monstrosity covered the number....
The line in that game was Tennessee -7. That Ole job got the cover.
  • ... and only 5-9 straight-up!!!  So, for the year, teams are 37-54 against the number and 51-40 straight up.
  • Want some scarier numbers?   22-38 ATS the last four weeks, 30-30 straight up.
  • Team with more penalties was 3-9 this week, with two even.  40-43-8 for the year.
  • Two non-competitive games for the week (total:  29)
  • Four games got within one score but didn't end there.  (total:  14)
  • Eight games ended within one score.  (total:  48)
  • Two Cliffhangers (Chicago's win in overtime was a double, their opponents needing a Cliffhanger TD + 2 for the tie.  And the Chargers beat the Raiders with a field goal at the gun.)  (Total:  17)
  • Also two last chance misses for 17 total as well.
I don't need Sports Media Watch for the generalities this week:  ESPN has picked up on this one instead!
  • An aggregate of NFL ratings this season by Nielsen has shown viewership down 7.5% to just 15 million viewers a week.
  • Going to Sports Media Watch specifically:  Monday Night's ratings sucked, but they sucked the same as last year -- no appreciable change.
  • Sunday Night was up 16% ratings, 19% viewers over an even weaker matchup last year.
  • CBS National Window got nailed hard, though:  Down 24% ratings, 26% viewers.
  • CBS Regional Window down 14% ratings and 17% viewers to the worst non-London window of the year.
  • FOX' Single Window was down 12%.

Monday, October 16, 2017

I'm about this close to going off on the Weinstein stuff...

I am probably going to make one or a number of posts in the near future regarding Harvey Weinstein and all the bullshit going down with respect to this predatorial idiot and probably most of Hollywood with it!

Al Michaels, on Sunday's prime-time broadcast, decided now was a time to reopen some of these wounds:
“And let’s face it: the Giants are coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein, and they’re up by 14 points!” 
I don't think many people are getting how deep this shit cuts.

I don't think many people WANT TO GET how deep this shit cuts.

I don't think many people get how much some of the people who have been wronged and raped and ravaged and all that shit by half of Hollywood and God knows how much else of the entertainment industry have meant to some people who needed something to fucking believe in.

Michaels has apologized:
You don't get it, Al:  I'll be the first to admit I've also fallen into the trap Mayim Bialik put herself in and all that stuff (and, trust me, Mayim:  You didn't always dress that modest.)...  I've said some things, meaning one thing and it coming across as quite another (and threatening in that respect!).

We are, as a culture, a rape/sexual assault/criminality culture, where so much is glossed over so we can be entertained, whether it be on the sports fields more endemic to this blog or the entertainment of the like of Debbie or Mayim or Olivia or whoever...

Al, you should be FIRED for that.  Sorry.  Now is not the time to be making light of this.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Another year, another MLB playoffs, and it appears we're rigging it for the Cubs again, and probably the Yankees...

(BLOGGER'S NOTE:  This post was done with significant assistance from my anonymous friend -- baseball fan (maybe not after this rig-job!), historian, etc.  We, after we saw some of the relevant play tonight, wanted this post done right, so extensive consultation was made between us.)

Tonight was Game 5 between the Nationals and Cubs in Washington, and it was a wild one.

Cubs got a run in the first, and then the Nationals responded with four in the second.

Two out in the third, 4-2 Nationals, second and third for the Cubs with two out.  Matt Wieters strikes.  Completely whiffs on a wild pitch (my baseball-historian friend says in a situation which would make Roger Dorn proud!) to allow one run to plate for the game to become 4-3.  In a close, sudden-death game where the winner goes home and every play is magnified.

And then we get to the fifth inning.  And things go fucking insane.

Max Scherzer comes on as an "all hands on deck" reliever to try to lock down the Cubs, and the absolute opposite occurs, and much of this lines up as a straight-up rig-job to get the Cubs to the NLCS, and eventually to another World Series.

After Scherzer gets the first two out:
  • Wilson Contreras with a ball deep into the hole, and the shortstop for Washington, Trea Turner, falls while trying to field the ball deep.  He gets the ball, but no chance to get Contreras out.  Runner on first.
  • Ben Zobrist then pinch-hits, and hits a soft little flare into left-center for a single.  First and second.
  • Addison Russell then hits a clean double right down the left field line for two runs.  5-4 Cubs, runner on second two out.
  • Jason Heyward, after Scherzer goes down 2-0 to him, is intentionally walked.  Runners on first and second.
  • Javier Baez strikes out.  But on strike three, another Roger Dorn job by Wieters, and, when he gets the ball from the backstop, throws the ball 10-15 feet off of first base toward second, as if he was trying to do a seeing-eye single to right, neither the first nor the second baseman can make the play, and another run scores.  It's 6-4 Cubs now, runners on second and third.
  • (Hold that play in mind.  When I finish the inning, there's a BIG PROBLEM with this play!)
  • Tommy La Stella pinch hits for the pitcher, and Wieters strikes for the THIRD TIME!  BLATANT catcher's interference (my baseball-historian friend says one of the worst in years!), and the bases are loaded!
  • And then, Scherzer hits Jon Jay, and the inning ends 7-4.  
  • The Cubs bat around plus one, score four runs on ONE hard-hit ball.
  • Baseball Reference looked at their database of almost 2 3/4 million half-innings, and could find NONE that had all four of the following things:  An intentional walk, a passed-ball strikeout, catcher's interference, and a hit by pitch.  In fact, in all of their games (over 100,000, it appears!), only five such entire GAMES had all four events.
At that point, it was decided that I would write this blog post.  Because, by this point, Matt Wieters, a nine-year veteran catcher, had committed two fairly blatant passed balls, a HIGHLY BLATANT catcher's interference, and appeared to (if not, nearly) intentionally throw away a throw that eventually would account for three Chicago Cub runs -- leading me to wonder if Wieters, in the interest of Major League Baseball and their ratings, wanted to throw the game to the Cubs.

What, to our horror as people sick of the Cubs, we found after the game was far, FAR worse!!

It appears as if the Nationals catcher was not the only agent to aid in the Cubs' victory outside the lines of the rules here.

Deadspin took to the Internet and got this video from the game (from one of their editors, Timothy Burke) on the Baez strike-three passed-ball:
Well, there's a problem with that.  Baez, in his follow-through, BELTS Wieters in the mask!  The TBS commentators think Wieters is appealing for a foul-tip, and he might have!  But the fact is that Baez, swinging through the third strike, belts Wieters in the mask!

And that leads to this Tweet on interference rules from Jeff Long at Baseball Prospectus:
The rule is fairly clear here, especially the point Long accentuates.   Once Baez hits Wieters, it's strike three, inning over, with no further advancement because of his interference.  The game goes to the bottom of the fifth at 5-4, and not 7-4 -- remembering that the Cubs eventually win 9-8!

There was no "error" here -- an error would imply that this was not an intentional act.  Wieters may well have contributed a lot to the Cubs' 9-8 victory, and, as a result, may have not only played his last game in Washington, but his last major-league game, as a result.

The facts are, however, that it appears as if the umpires wanted to ensure a result -- and that they weren't the only ones.  One of the major red flags I throw up on my sports conspiracies is when the officiating makes one or more key calls that change the outcome of the game in complete ignorance of the realities of what took place on the field.  This includes, often, either ignorance or complete disregard-ance of the rules of the game.

That was strike three, no advancement, ball dead, inning over.

Instead, even over the protestations of Wieters and Dusty Baker, two more runs eventually plate, including the catcher's interference (which, as I said, was seen as completely blatant!).

And then there's one more play I want people to look at, which will probably get snowed under by the bizarre fifth inning:

Eighth inning, two out for the Nationals.  One run is already in to get the game to 9-8.  Runners on first and second, and Jose Lobaton is picked off first.

He's called safe on the field.  The Cubs, as is their right, call for a New York challenge -- meaning the call is taken to the replay office in New York.

The call is overturned.

There's a large problem here, because it is clear Lobaton does reach first again before being tagged.  The problem is what happens afterwards.  Lobaton appears, with one leg short of the bag, to lift his other leg off the bag, and it's on this basis New York tries to get you to believe he's out!

But if you cannot find a point at which the tag is applied while Lobaton is in that state with neither leg touching the first-base bag., then Lobaton is safe, because the call on the field would "stand" and not be "confirmed".  I've had people watch this clip a number of times.  And none of us have a conclusive idea Rizzo tagged Lobaton with his one leg over the base but off it and the other leg short of the bag!  A number of fans who've seen this video (at least a couple while I'm writing this blog post) do find one tag (at 1:03 of the video clip), but can't find another with both legs off the bag (1:04ish) -- the latter being the necessary condition for Lobaton to be out!  And, not only that, but the replay requires a conclusive call in that regard!

It appears the call MLB made was a "it had to be that way" call -- as if the Cubs were the ones given the benefit of the doubt!  That's exactly the OPPOSITE of both the replay rules in the NFL and Major League Baseball!

This is a classic case of the MLB replay offices in New York making a decision (one that kills an eighth-inning rally, and, with a 1-2-3 9th, ends the game, series, and season for the Nationals!) to ensure a result -- the lack of a clear evidence indicating the call, at the least, should've "stood", like the NFL!!

So blatant that Brian Tuohy might've sparked up on that one:
So go ahead, Cub Bro.  You stole one from us, like the motherfucking cocksuckers you are.  And I sense, given that you and the Yankees are the only supposedly-likeable teams who get any ratings because of WGN and the Yankees' greatness rammed down our throats...

So it's Cubs-Yankees, right?  I've got friends who are long-starving Dodger fans, and they already see this oncoming train coming right down the track, especially after tonight...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

North Dallas Thugboys: Next Round to the NFL

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 for the NFL to reinstate the suspension of Ezekiel Elliot today.

Don't expect it to start service yet:  There's still a possibility the case could either be heard in New York or go straight to the Supreme Court.  Do not, however, expect anything soon -- but the Cowboys are on their bye week this week.


Sounds like we have match-fixing in the COMNEBOL qualifiers too -- more common variety here.

Brian Tuohy tends to find good sources of match-fixing and the like, and found this from someone else's Twitter:
The South American (COMNEBOL) qualifiers for the World Cup are less complicated than most other continents. Since there are only 10 member countries, there is only one group, and all teams play each other twice in an about one-year or so span. Four teams qualify directly, a fifth goes to an interconfederational playoff.

As with the other confederations, the last day of play was this week.

And the rough table looks as follows:

Brazil wins the group and is qualified
Uruguay is second, but with a +10 goal differential, the odds of then not qualifying are about zero.
Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela are out.

It's five teams for 2 1/2 spots.

Chile and Colombia both have 26 points and a +2 goal differential, but Chile is third on more goals scored.
Peru has 25 points and a +1 goal differential.
Argentina was in major trouble of crashing out at the same situation, but fewer goals scored.
Paraguay had 24 points and -5 goal differential.

Paraguay -Venezuela

and the one you see in the Tweet, Peru-Colombia -- are the four relevant matches.

Falcao of Colombia is appearing, in this video, to talk to the Peruvian players, explaining to them that a draw is probably enough to qualify both sides for the World Cup, or at least for the playoff.

This is match-fixing.  But it's so common, it has an Italian term for it in the soccer world:  A biscotto.  An effective pre-arranged result that benefits both sides in such a situation.

And an own goal got exactly that result -- a 1-1 draw.  (COL 27 points, +2; Peru 26 points, +1)

Brazil eliminated Chile by defeating them 3-0.  (CHI 26 points, -1)

Venezuela stunned Paraguay at home 0-1 to eliminate them with 24 points.

Argentina won 1-3 at Ecuador to take one automatic spot.  Colombia took the other.  The biscotto actually fails, as Peru now has to go to the playoff with New Zealand (the half-spot Oceania now gets with Australia playing in the Asian confederation).