Monday, December 10, 2007

Mailbag part 2

I am pleased with how the first Mailbag went and how after it was posted I saw a 500% increase in questions within 24 hours. Since, it seemed to go over so well I will answer 4 of the 10 questions I received today below. As always keep the questions coming and I will be writing in to give you my best answers:

Can I hate Tom Brady and the Patriots and still be considered a good American? For awhile there I thought that President Bush was planning to send them to the Middle East to win the War on Terror? – BC

First off, I didn’t know President Bush was still in charge of the country. I like to think I follow up on national news (I read, the New York times, Time magazine, and other news sources when I get a chance), and I could have sworn that Hillary, Obama, Rudy, Romney, or Huckabee was the current president. (Yes, I am referring to all the presidential candidates with one name as if they were Nene or Madonna.)

However, I should get to the real meat of the question. It is a simple question with a simple answer of yes you can hate both the Pats and Tom Brady. Tom Brady is starting to reach a Michael Jordan type level of love from the media no matter what he does. Watch the games and don’t listen to the announcers. You will see Brady cursing his offense line on a play against the Redskins when they were up 38 in the 4th quarter after they jumped the snap. You will see Brady going out of his way to talk trash to Anthony Smith after Moss scored his first TD against the Steelers. Mike Ditka thought that Brady shouldn’t have lowered himself to Smith’s level and would have been better served just ignoring the comments. I agree with him.

(By the way how has this “guarantee” story gotten so much airplay lately. A reporter asked if he expected to win and he said yes. He said he could guarantee a win if "we do what we got to do" and "if our special teams come through for us." What was he supposed to say? What professional athlete not playing for the Miami Dolphins doesn’t expect to win every week? This whole story was ridiculous and should never be one of the lead stories for Sportscenter).

The main reasons to hate Brady are:

  1. He is a Yankees fan as evidenced by him wearing a Yankees hat around town.

    Why is a New England icon wearing a Yankees hat? Isn’t that the equivalent of Eric Montross walking around Chapel Hill with a 2001 Duke NCAA champion sweatshirt? I would give him a free pass if he grew up in New York and was a childhood Yankees fan. The only problem with this is that he grew up in California . He grew up in a place that was closer to Juneau, Alaska than New York City . You can definitely dislike Brady for being a Yankees fan.
  2. Brady left actress Bridget Moynahan when she was pregnant with his child. This is not okay where I come from because a child out of wedlock is not an option. If he was in the south then Bridget Moynahan's father would come by Brady’s house one night with a shotgun and tell Brady that he better “do right” and propose to her.
  3. He is the most superficial athlete since Jordan . For one he left his pregnant actress girlfriend for a Brazilian supermodel. And tell me the picture below isn't of a superficial person:

  4. He is a jerk to refs. He gets in their face and yells at them in a way that Bob Knight would get crucified over. However, since Brady is a great player, media friendly, and good looking he gets a free pass for acting like an out of control idiot whenever one a call doesn’t go in his favor.

As for hating the Patriots you will get nothing but agreement from this Dolphins fan. Check out Gregg Easterbook’s column a month and a half ago about the Good vs. Evil game between the Colts and Patriots:

If Santana goes to Boston , how do the Twins fill the void, especially in a division where teams like the Tigers make epic trades that show that they mean it? –BC

Bill Smith and the Twins are in a dangerous situation. I don’t want to sound callous, but the best thing to happen to the Twins would be if there was a new owner. A new owner hopefully would be willing to pay the team's top players, and therefore Twins fans would be looking forward to the day when Santana starts on opening day for the new stadium in 2010. The reason that is callous is because the only way there will be a new owner is if Carl Pohlad passes away.

Since the above paragraph isn’t an option here is how the Twins should fill the void and keep pace with the Tigers and Indians in the Central Division. They need to trade Santana for Jacoby Ellsbury and some young pictures. Ellsbury would hopefully be the type of hitter who would make this year’s lineup (along with Delmon Young, but minus Torri Hunter) a much better lineup than last year. The reason the Twins were not competitive last year was not because of Santana (who was only 15-13), but was because they couldn’t score any runs. The Twins scored 718 runs all of last year, which was 25th out of the 30 teams. In order to compete with the Tigers (who scored 169 more runs) and the Indians (who scored 93 more runs) they need to get more people on base (.330 OBP%, which was 19th out of the 30 teams) and hit more home runs (118 HRs, which was 29th out of 30 teams). There OPS (on base plus slugging) was ranked 27th out of the 30 teams. Any way you slice and dice it they need to score more runs.

If the bad side of things is the batting, then the optimist would look at the Twins pitching. Even with the failures of Sidney Ponson and Ramon Ortiz at the beginning of the year the entire pitching staff gave up only 725 runs, which was only beaten by 6 teams. (The awful news is that the Red Sox gave up the fewest runs without Santana). The pitching should still be in good shape with the unbelievable bullpen, Boof Bonser, Kevin Slowly, Scott Baker, and Francisco Liriano. All of the their young pitchers should be better this year and hopefully collectively make up for the loss of the great Santana.

Adding a few decent bats to the lineup and hoping the young pitchers improve their performance is the best way for the Twins to fill the void and make it back to the playoffs.

Who will be the first ACC player to slap Taylor King just for living? – BC

Tyler Hansbrough. I saw the replays of the NC State game from a year ago and could see Hansbrough being really frustrated after Taylor King hacks him across the face when he is going up for a shot. Just in case you don’t know who Taylor King is I will let you in on someone who is becoming one of my favorite Duke players on this team. He is 6-6 freshmen forward from California , who jacks up threes as if he was Kyle Korver. To give you some perspective on King over 67% of his made field goals this year have been 3 pointers. Kyle Korver’s career 3 point to field goal % (from now on I will refer to it as 3PT2FG %) was 66%. The entire Duke team’s 3PT2FG % is 31% and they are a 3 point shooting team. The national average of 3PT2FG% is 29.5%. Therefore Taylor King’s 3PT2FG % is over 2 times the national average. It is cliché but he shoots with no conscience and still makes 47% of his 3 point attempts.

Do you think it's appropriate for Cornhusker fans to get the word Nebraska tattoo'd on their back? And did these people even go to UNL? - LM

Yes, it is definitely appropriate to get the word Nebraska tatto’d on their back. First off, I have a rule in life that if it doesn’t hurt me or others then I usually have no problem with what someone does. If someone wants to get a Nebraska , butterfly, or Chinese symbol tattoo then more power to them. Second, it is good for these people to show so much pride in their state/university. There are so many people who just coast through life without really caring about anything. At least these people have something to care and be passionate about.

As for your 2nd question, no most of them probably did not go to UNL. If you (or others) want to read a great book about extreme fandom then you should read Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John. In the book St. John asks a bunch of fans why they are such big fans of Alabama football despite never taking a class there. Their response surprised him and me because he said that these fans think that attending the school somehow dilutes your ability to root for the football team. Anyway, below is the breakdown on the probability that they went to school at UNL:

  • The majority of the 1.7M residents in Nebraska are Cornhusker fans. I would say close to 90% even though that is just a guess.
  • There are only around 17,000 undergrads curently at UNL.
  • Therefore if you took those 17,000 undergrads and generously (due to the fact that number of undergrads has risen over time) multiplied the average number of undergrads per year (4,250) by the average number of years an American lives (77) and you would get 327,250 possibly undergrads at UNL out there in America.
  • If you took the total number of possibly undergrads (which is an inflated number, but helps provide a ceiling) and divided it by the state’s population you would get 19%. That 19% represents the highest number of past or present undergraduates of UNL that live in Nebraska .
  • There are other factors (grad school, dropouts, people who move away from Nebraska, etc) that are not taken into account, so I will concede that the 19% is definitely not the best number you can use, but it will serve the purpose of this argument.

I think that at most if only 1 out of every 5 people you meet in Nebraska took classes at UNL there is a great probability that most of the Cornhusker fans (which we guessed as 90% of 1.7M or about 1.5M fans) you meet probably did not go to school there.

Tomorrow, there will be 6 more questions I will get to.

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