Good news for those of you who like to bet baseball overs: the people who run the game are noticing that offense is in the toilet. From Yahoo’s barbecue editor, Jeff Passan:
“Major League Baseball is considering altering the textbook definition of the strike zone for the first time in nearly two decades, fearful that the proliferation of the low strike has sapped too much offense from the game. MLB’s Playing Rules Committee . . . will pay close attention to the size of the strike zone in 2015 with an eye on change as early as 2016 after studies showed it has expanded significantly since 2009, coinciding with a precipitous dip in run scoring.
“Runs per game fell to 4.07 in 2014, the lowest mark since 1981 and the 13th fewest since World War II, and studies from The Harball Times’ Jon Roegele and Florida professor Brian Mills pegged the low strike as a significant culprit. Since 2009, the average size of the called strike zone has jumped from 435 square inches to 475 square inches, according to Roegele’s research. The results . . . Roegele’s study estimated 31 percent of the offensive drought could be attributed to the strike zone while Mills’ estimated it’s between 24 percent and 41 percent.”
In other words, the Giants have solved their 2015 offensive issues, no later than 2017.
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Lots of people noticed that Riley Cooper adorned the February page in the Philadelphia Eagles’ calendar, and that February is Black History Month, and that Cooper’s unfortunate eugenics lecture at a country music concert resulted in him nationally shamed and nearly fired.
But hey, without moments like that, moments like this cannot happen, to wit: Someone in Marketing is going to pay for this, hard.
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Charles Barkley called “total bulls—t” on the idea of DeMarcus Cousins being consulted in the hiring of George Karl, so he went on TNT and called it “total bulls—t.” Live. On television. This was moments after he’d nearly cursed on the air but caught himself at the last second on the same subject.
The Kings -– Breaking Down Societal Norms Without Even Knowing It Since 1950.
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The assumption that Las Vegas is the logical expansion city for any sport hit a snag when Major League Soccer, which will put a team anywhere, told Mayor Carolyn Goodman it was at least temporarily abandoning its Vegas plan.
The letter didn’t get into detail, but somewhere you could hear the casino owners saying in unison, “One down. Next up to be discouraged, the NHL.”
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Hope Solo’s suspension for again going all Hope Solo (allowing her husband to drive a team van the night he got busted for DUI) is nearly over, and now she has posted a video of herself working out in goal. Unsurprisingly, she looked swell -– otherwise, she wouldn’t have released the video, duh.
No word yet on whether the U.S. National Team trusts her not to go all Hope again soon, but the talent-tolerance scale tells us that Solo’s chances of returning have everything to do with Nicole Barnhart, Ashlyn Harris, and Alyssa Naeher -– the other U.S. keepers. If she’s better than them, she’s cured.
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And finally, this on the Warriors and the tedious discussion about whether they can be the top seed in the Western Conference. It doesn’t matter nearly as much as avoiding difficult early matchups. Only one eventual champion, Boston in 2008, played seven-game series in the first two rounds and still won the title. Most of them had at least one and typically at least two cruises -– the Lakers in 2001 swept the first three series and went 4-1 in the Finals, and the ’99 Spurs went 4-1, 4-0, 4-0, 4-1.
In other words, if the Warriors need to finish second to get Houston or Phoenix instead of finishing first and drawing San Antonio or Oklahoma City, they should try to do that. This may mean the odd tank job, true, but the teams that tried to tank early were too lousy at it, so someone skilled the art of the game should give it a go if it will help in the longer run.
Don Nelson would so approve of this message.