Friday, December 30, 2016

Athletic Celibacy, Pt. 1

Sometimes, I am a statistics geek. You see, while frozen within the permafrost of our national health insurance bureaucracy (again), recovering from the death of a parent and in the midst of a significant surgical procedure, I resort to the comfort of statistics and the clarity and definition they provide. 

You, the dear reader of The Square Peg, are the happy beneficiary.

Now that the Chicago Cubs have relinquished their stranglehold on two of professional sport's most-undesirable records, who is most-likely to break them?

In the first list, we see the ten franchises most overdue to appear in their sport's championship series or game, be it the World Series, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals or the Stanley Cup.

The first figure is the number of seasons since a franchise's last appearance in their respective sport's championship series or game. The number in parenthesis is the year of their last appearance.

Figures are current through each sport's most-recently completed season.

Sacramento Kings NBA 65 (1951)
Detroit Lions NFL 58 (1957)
Atlanta Hawks NBA 55 (1961)
Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 49 (1967)
New York Jets NFL 47 (1968)
Kansas City Chiefs NFL 46 (1969)
St. Louis Blues NHL 46 (1970)
Milwaukee Bucks NBA 42 (1974)
Minnesota Vikings NFL 39 (1976)
Washington Wizards NBA 37 (1979)
Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 37 (1979)
Milwaukee Brewers MLB 34 (1982)

Honorable mentions:

Baltimore Orioles MLB 33 (1983)
New York Islanders NHL 32 (1984)
Miami Dolphins NFL 31 (1984)

And here are the ten teams most overdue to win a championship.

The first figure is the number of seasons since their last title, while the number in parenthesis is the year in which they won it.

Again, figures are current through each sport's most-recently completed season.

Cleveland Indians MLB 68 (1948)
Arizona Cardinals NFL 68 (1947)
Sacramento Kings NBA 65 (1951)
Detroit Lions NFL 58 (1957)
Atlanta Hawks NBA 58 (1958)
Philadelphia Eagles NFL 55 (1960)
Tennessee Titans NFL 54 (1961)
San Diego Chargers NFL 52 (1963)
Buffalo Bills NFL 50 (1965)
Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 49 (1967)
New York Jets NFL 47 (1968)
Kansas City Chiefs NFL 46 (1969)

Honorable mentions:

Milwaukee Bucks NBA 45 (1971)
New York Knicks NBA 43 (1973)
Miami Dolphins NFL 42 (1973)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Simple Post

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Paying the Bryce

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has let it slip he's seeking a ten-year contract for 400 million-dollars.

In a coincidence that is beyond remarkable, so am I. Of course, rain that gets hurt while falling is more likely than yours truly ever seeing such a thing.

Bryce, on the other hand, is another story.

The precious millennial, known for wearing a hat with 'Let's make baseball fun again' embroidered across the front and for telling a grizzled sportswriter “That's a clown question, dude”, is a good-but-not-great player.Yet in our culture of microwave celebrity, he is considered a brilliant one.

He did stitch together a nice 2015, for which he was immediately awarded the National League's Most Valuable Player trophy. But aside from that single season, his play has yet to spark even a single rumor that Babe Ruth has returned from the dead and is inhabiting a Washington Nationals uniform.

Maybe Bryce is just having one on us. Using Harper-speak to get us to lighten up. And if so, good for him. Few things in life are reported with the grim severity as the unmet needs of a professional athlete with an expiring contract.

On the other hand, maybe Harper is outrageously-coddled. Maybe he is someone who's never held down an after-school job, much less a Monday through Friday one. Maybe he's been given a pass from the demands and expectations of the maturation curve because he could hit a baseball. 

Add to this equation that his agent is Scott Boras, one held in contempt by more than a few baseball GMs for his fuck-your-team-I-play-for-my-client mentality, and things take a decidedly darker turn.

Forty-million dollars per for a guy who's never driven in a-hundred runs, never lined two-hundred hits, never won a batting title, finished one season with a slugging percentage over five-hundred and can claim but a single post-season performance that wasn't a disappointment?

The guy who finished in the top ten in his league's WAR exactly once (there's that word again) should be highest-paid player in baseball? Based on what? All of this factors into the Nationals' failure to advance beyond the opening round of the playoffs even once in three tries.

At his peak in 1930, Babe Ruth earned 80,000 dollars a year. Adjusted for inflation, that equals 1.1 million bucks a year in 2016 dollars. Any idea—any idea at all—why someone named Bryce Harper is worth forty times that?

Me, neither.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Random Thoughts, Vol. 8

Do the vocal cords of people gifted with great voices look different from those of us with not-so-great voices?

How is it that no one questions the yawning chasm within the political platform that claims to espouse the sanctity of life, yet which refuses to ban assault weapons?

Never buy anything you aren't one day prepared to give or throw away.

Isn't it interesting that the coarser our culture gets, the gentler our language becomes?

How is it that globalization lowers American working-class wages but not executive ones?

Never accuse an American of having enjoyed a comfortable childhood.

So let me get this straight: a side-effect of Tamiflu is moderate to severe nausea and vomiting? Seriously?

Nothing like the guilt you feel when you realize you passed a freezer full of battered seafood at the supermarket and didn't even think of calling 911.

After witnessing the enormous sums spent on this year's elections, I now believe—with unshakeable certainty—that we have the best government money can buy.

Who introduced the bill that requires a Tae Kwon Do studio inhabit every strip mall in America?