Player and fan polls are the best kind of information because they represent the illusion of reporting without ever actually achieving it.
So it is that we report gleefully that an ESPN poll about which is the least desirable team to play for and YELP reviews on the 49ers’ new stadium tell us important things that we already could have figured out with half our cerebrums tied behind our backs.
The least desirable team according to 82 players polled is Oakland, to the point where players were quoted anonymously as saying they’d only play there if their salaries were doubled. Well, we know this is true because Al Davis did that very thing for most of the last decade of his life, and that got him with cap problems it’s taken three years for his successors to escape.
And the YELP reviews for Candlestick 2.0 are averaging a below average 2.5 so far, which makes perfect sense because no in-stadium experience comes close to matching the in-couch experience most of us enjoy. So what we’ve learned is this – Live football is mediocre, and live football with the Raiders annoys players.
Like we didn’t already know that.
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Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles is among the truest of Giants fans because, well, why else would you do a Giant-centric blog? Thus, when he dropped this fragmentation grenade on Tim Lincecum, you got the same sense Republicans must have gotten when Walter Cronkite turned on the Vietnam War back in the day:
“The statistical evidence is against Lincecum improving his command with more innings. The anecdotal evidence is against him. His strikeout rate is falling. His velocity is still dropping. The choices are to keep tying what the Giants have been trying over the last three years, and hope the Great Command flies into the command patch, or to hope that Lincecum picks up some velocity in a move to the bullpen, which will get him closer to where he was. The Giants are considering the latter. It's time. I don't blame them for dilly-dallying and hoping everything would fix itself, because that's what I was hoping for, too. It's time, though. We're almost 100 starts into the new, sad Tim Lincecum era. I don't know if there's even a half-decent reason to give it another 100.”
Job done. He’s missing his next start, and if you’re comfortable with the Yusmeiro Petit Experience, more after that.
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Josh Shaw, a cornerback at USC, will miss the early part of the college football season because, well, because of something even the most crazed of coaches cannot complain about. From the USC-centric Rips It blog:
“While attending a family social function at his cousin's apartment in his hometown of Palmdale, Shaw looked on from a second floor balcony to the pool below and saw his 7-year-old nephew, who cannot swim, in distress without help nearby. Shaw instinctively leaped off the balcony, landing painfully on the concrete below. He was able to crawl into the pool and ushered his nephew to safety. Despite the intense pain in his legs, he was then able to grab the ladder and lift himself out of the pool with his upper body. Shaw was taken to the hospital and subsequently diagnosed with two high ankle sprains, which will sideline him indefinitely.”
In short, he gets to be “day-to-day” for as long as he wants to be.
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With FXX running every Simpsons episode forever, the Intrawebs are full of Simpsoniana, including the odd tweet from former show runner Mike Scully, who was reminded of his brush with the National Hockey League from a distant episode:
“NHL sent a letter about Krusty drinking out of (and throwing back up into) Stanley Cup, but cool Fox lawyer said to ignore.”
If only the league lawyers had had the wit to be that cool.
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Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is the Heisman Trophy favorite in the only metric that matters in August – number of ways he is being exploited by his university.
Of course, Oregon is loony about its jerseys because it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nike. But Mariota becomes the Heisman favorite because, as ESPN tells us, he has eight more jersey options than anyone else. Michigan is offering 17 versions of No. 98, quarterback Devin Gardner; Notre Dame is selling 15 different No. 5 jerseys for returning quarterback Everett Golson, and Alabama’s online store features 10 different versions of No. 4 running back T.J. Yeldon.
Next up in the idea factory – Roman numerals.
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Wes Welker’s latest concussion may not have prompted Tom Brady to include brain-ups in his training regimen. He and his trainer Alex Guerrero have developed a series of cognitive exercises to keep Brady’s brain in peak condition. Brady wanted to hone his decision-making skills and Guerrero gave him a baseline scan of neurological function to see areas where they could work to make Brady’s performance even better.
Another idea: Maybe there are areas where Brady can enjoy a longer and healthier old age. If that works, maybe you don’t need a second reason.
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And in other brain news, Richie Incognito visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday in hopes of reintegrating into the NFL since the Jonathan Martin bullying hoop-de-blah. But while he may have changed, the rules of engagement with other players haven’t.
“I think some of the older guys would have something to say to him. It wouldn’t be negative or anything like that,” center Evan Dietrich-Smith said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “I don’t think they would let the man in the locker room if they felt that it wasn’t going to be a good fit.”
And the Martin baggage?
“This is the NFL,” Dietrich-Smith said. “Everyone has baggage.”
Never has a truer thing been said, ever.
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And finally, with Dimitri Patterson getting suspended by the Jets for not liking his place on the secondary’s depth chart, you have to wish this fake ultimatum from Bayern Munich backup goalkeeper Pepe Reina (via Back of the Net's John Foster) was the real deal.
“This Bayern move is a dream come true for me,” Reina, who signed last week, pretend-told Fisher. “I'm so excited to add my name to the list of players like Bernd Dreher, Stefan Wessels, Tom Starke and others who I had to look up on the Internet. Everyone has made me feel so welcome, especially the fans. They've shown me nothing but wariness and indifference, which has been lovely.”
Reina is playing behind Manuel Neuer, widely held to be the world’s best keeper, thus making Reina superfluous to nearly all Bayern’s needs.
“Ever since I was a little boy, all I wanted was to wear a famous club's tracksuit, to feel the hard oak under my thighs, and to return my pristine jersey to its hanger at the end of 90 minutes' sitting down. I used to imagine going to the manager and saying, ‘Am I playing today, boss?’ and him saying ‘No.’ At last, my dream is a reality. Manuel Neuer is a great player, but there's only room for one goalkeeper on that bench, and that's me. If he wants to dislodge me, he's going to have to do something extraordinarily bad.”
You only wish he’d actually said it.