Monday, June 22, 2009

Artie Lange, Baseball Stats, This Website, Etc.

1. Question: How many people have offered, in one capacity or another, to help me with this website?

Answer: Approximately 6,005.

I'm constantly (read: once a week, maybe) receiving emails from mammals (often friends) who love my site but think it needs an aesthetic overhaul. And they always know a guy who can help me. It's their brother or cousin or neighbor, and they work for a web design firm (or something) and they could easily fix the amateurish look and feel of

For whatever reason, I always take the bait. I always assume -- despite being let down dozens of times before -- that this email is the one that will change my fortunes. I generally don't believe in people (call me a cynic), but when I receive emails from readers who offer help, I'm like a young Micky Dolenz.

For the record:

a. Two different gentlemen have more or less guaranteed me money.

b. One guy told me his company wanted to make my website his pet project.

c. Several have told me they (or someone they know) could easily change the look of the site for little or no cost.

d. Other words.

There's a lesson here: Never trust anyone. Ever. Yes, I am bitter.

But there's also this: Despite my bitterness I'm still willing to accept your help. Anyone's help. This site looks like crap, but the content is solid. Please help. Please. This is an official beg. I have no idea what I'm doing here. But I can write a little bit. And the podcasts are funny. You see, I have ability. Please help me make this site look somewhat decent. Again, I beg you. I'm offering oral sex.

Brad Spieser desperately needs your help.


2. Jay Bruce has a decent shot at 40 HRs this year. He has an outside shot at 80 walks. His current OBP is a pathetic .305. Bizarre.

Translation: Jay Bruce sucks. I knew it.

3. Nick Anderson's career will always be remembered for four missed free throws to blow Game One of the '95 finals -- and his ensuing struggles. Do you realize his mind was so screwed up in the years that followed that his charity-stripe woes sunk all the way to 40 percent for the '97 season? He was a starting NBA shooting guard putting up numbers Bo Outlaw and Dale Davis would find amusing.

Final word: Anderson made $36 million in his career. Let's not feel too sorry for him.

4. I read this in a recent Bill Simmons column: Since the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol they haven't once endured a three-game losing streak.

Final word: I have nothing to add to this, other than maybe Chris Mihm is worse than we thought.

5. Colly Boy, my fireman friend, texted me the other day with the following piece of information regarding the Reds television broadcast team: "Every firehouse I have ever been to hates George Grande, Jim Day and Jeff Piecoro."

Final word: What about Chris Welsh? Just because he's not as bad as Grande doesn't mean he's not a lousy broadcaster. He is. Welsh is simply the most handsome man in the leper colony.

6. Larry Brown played in only twelve NFL games after being named MVP of the '95 Super Bowl.

Translation: Al Davis has a keen eye for talent.

7. Toby Harrah, a four-time All Star from the 70's and 80's (although fairly obscure historically) is responsible for two of the strangest things to have ever happened on a baseball field: (1.) He played every inning of a double-header at shortstop and not a single ball was hit to him, and (2.) He and a teammate (someone who probably has a name) once hit back-to-back inside-the-park HRs.

Final word: Take that, Fernando Tatis.

(Note: I came across the Toby Harrah stuff from a link Rob Neyer posted on his page, but I can't seem to locate it.)

8. Joe Niekro came to the plate nearly 1,200 times in his career and hit only one home run. His one glorious moment was off a Hall of Famer...his brother, Phil. And it tied the game in the 7th inning.

(Note: I also swiped the Niekro stat from Neyer)

9. I'm not up on the latest "Shaq to the Cavs" rumors, but I know one thing: If it goes through, stay out of my way. I swear, if LeBron James wastes his entire young prime without playing on a single up-tempo team I will strangle everyone who comes in my path, except for old ladies (they get pushed down the steps). But seriously, LeBron James would have averaged 40-44 ppg on the 05-07 Suns, which means there's no reason he shouldn't be averaging 36-38 ppg now. He's the best athlete the league has ever seen, not to mention the best finisher after contact in the game. The fact that he's dealing with constant double and triple teams in a slow-it-down half court offense is preposterous.

10. Artie Lange caused a lot of controversy with his excessively foul mouth on HBO's Joe Buck Live. The foul mouth wasn't the problem; after all it was HBO. The problem was that Artie Lange wasn't funny, and Joe Buck wasn't (or isn't) skilled enough to turn Lange's disastrous appearance into a positive.

A couple of things here: First, Artie Lange -- on drugs or off -- is one of the funniest men on Earth. He really is. But only when he's on the Howard Stern Show. His chemistry with Stern and Robin Quivers is unparalleled in the radio game. But his stand-up stinks, and so do his acting performances. Does that mean he's not funny? Of course not. But he's not funny in every arena.

Something similar happens with Jay Mohr and Adam Carolla.

Listen to Mohr host the Jim Rome Show just once and you'll think he's the next Howard Stern. Without fail, Jay Mohr delivers an A+ performance every time. But his TV shows and movies are unwatchable -- as are his individual performances in each one.

And if you can get Adam Carolla in a complimentary role on anything -- radio or TV, but preferably radio -- and allow him the time to spit out his long-winded (and brilliant) opinions and observations of absolutely everything, well, nobody does it better. Nobody. But put him in the capatain's chair, and he's a flop.

Lange, Mohr and Carolla are supremely talented, with sharp comedic minds, but their styles aren't full proof.

Lange bombed on Joe Buck Live, and that's the real reason it made headlines.

11. I miss Jules Asner.

12. I've heard media folk suggest that Bryce Harper's decision to get a GED (in order to enter next year's draft a year early) would've been a bigger story if he played basketball instead of baseball.

To that, I agree. But for different reasons.

I think the aforementioned media folk were suggesting that it'd be some sort of outrage, one driven by (a.) race and (b.) a mockery of the educational system. And there might be some truth in that, but it's misguided.

The real reason Bryce Harper's story isn't getting the same amount of publicity had he played basketball is simple: Nobody cares about college baseball in this country, and everyone cares about college hoops.

It's completely unfair of David Stern to prevent people from being drafted out of high school, but I'm all for it. It makes both the pro and college game better, and we find out in a hurry which guys were ready straight out of high school, and which guys probably never will be.

Plus, Harper won't have to sit on the end of the Nationals' bench next year, somehow making them worse; he'll be in Single A riding a bus from one hillbilly town to another. The Nationals can monitor his progress without hurting their big-league product. In the NBA, you're forced to give up a roster spot when you spend a high first round pick on a physically and emotionally immature youngster.

13. At what point is it fair to draw parallels between Homer Bailey and Brandon Larson? Both were first rounders who embarrassed AAA opponents, and both struggled mightily against the big boys.

14. I regard Kenny Mayne as a comedic genius, and yet I've never seen a single webisode of Mayne Street. Sentences.

End of words. I'm still waiting for the right opportunity to write about about Nurse Jackie. But it's coming. Believe it.

-Brad Spieser (