Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ping Golf Wants You To Pay Full Price

In case you haven't guessed it by now, we live in the general vicinity of Augusta Georgia. It is a wonderful place. A place filled with golf courses, magnolias, sweet tea and blue laws. A place you can come to once a year and watch a "Tradition Like No Other", but, in doing so, not be bothered by the shenanigans of one Mr. Gary McCord.

However, as of this week, Augusta is not a place you can come to buy Ping golf equipment.

Due to the ever present bottom line of big business, two local golf retailers have been informed by Ping Golf that they will no longer be able to sell Ping equipment. Why you may ask? Because the dirty bastards were giving a 10% military discount to the local service members, thereby selling the equipment at a lower price than Ping authorized. And, in the name of sweet irony, one of the stores who's selling rights were revoked for giving this most unholy of discounts was none other than the pro shop at Gordon Lakes golf course, which is conveniently located on Fort Gordon, an Army installation.

Now, as former soldiers ourselves, we never did really feel that we were entitled to any more than anyone else. Joining the military was an honor, and any discounts were appreciated, but never assumed. That being said, to tell these dealers that they can't sell Ping equipment because they were hooking up the military seems a little, how should we put it, douchebag-esque.

So, to the executives at Ping Golf, we simply request that you go fuck yourselves, and wish only to inform you that you've joined Phil Mickelson on our list of people we hope get herpes.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

How to Watch the Playoffs With Your Girlfriend

In dealing with women, there are generally 3 basic categories when it comes to sports:

1) The ones that say things like "Is that Brian Favre? I like him."

2) The ones that know the Cardinals are both a baseball and football team, but not which one Albert Pujols plays for.

3) The ones that go to baseball games whether they have a boyfriend or not, own memorabilia, and throw out information like "David Ortiz never hit more than 20 home runs for the Twins, I see why they let him leave".

Lets face it gentleman, and I use the term loosely, unless you're lucky enough to be hooked up with number 3, or one of these ladies, watching sports can be somewhat of an adventure at times. Nothing is more painful than having to take time to explain the hit and run, why someone was intentionally walked, or what exactly it is that Joe Torre does.

So, as a favor to you, our readers, we've prepared this handy guide on how to watch the MLB playoffs this year and avoid all the hassle. We hope all 4 of you enjoy it.

1) Point out Joe Mauer, Derek Jeter, or Johnny Damon on a Regular Basis: This will occupy your girlfriends attention for considerable amounts of time if utilized correctly. Say things like "Man, Joe Mauer has big arms", and watch your woman swoon. Make sure to mention them when they're on offense and defense, and anytime they show a candid shot in the dugout. Avoid mentioning A-Rod (too pretty, she may want you to start waxing), Randy Johnson (too tall, she'll be afraid), or Justin Morneau (too canadian).

2) Badmouth Girls in the Stands: When the cameraman zooms in on the blonde hottie with the store bought funbags and a cell phone glued to her ear, immediately launch into a tirade about cell phones in the ballpark, all the while eye-humping said hottie. This will make her think you care more about the game than some bimbo and, after calling said bimbo a slut, she'll simply cuddle up and be content for a few innings.

3) Avoid Mentioning Something You'll Have to Explain: If you say something like "Justin Morneau has the potential to win the triple crown", you'll have to explain the triple crown, which may lead to horse racing questions, which could end with you stabbing a steakknife into your own temple. Keep it simple. Short outbursts of happiness and anger. Under no earthly circumstance should you quote Baseball Prospectus or Deadspin.

4) Never Bring Up Past Players: Much like #3, if you mention Jack Morris, you'll have to explain who he is and likewise, why he is great, occupying valuable viewing time.

5) Mention Statistics: This one is tricky, and should only be attempted by seasoned veterans, i.e. guys who have taken their significant others to a live sporting event. Say things like "Good, Jeter's up and he's only hit 14 home runs this year" and she'll understand. Say stuff like "Damn, Jeter bats .325 against right handers on the road and has an OPS of .892" and #3 will come into play again.

6) Throw a Compliment Her Way Every Time There's a Lull in The Action: This can be dangerous, as you may end up engaged if it's a serious pitchers duel. However, this is a pivotal part of your arsenal. Mention how much you love her new haircut, that you love it when she wears her pajamas all day, or that you'd love for her mother to come over for dinner next week and she'll think you're sweet and let you point your attention elsewhere for a little while. If you're feeling real sporty, combine this with a stat, and you may be able to milk it for at least 3 innings. For instance "Johan Santana throws a pretty slider... (looking at her)... Almost as pretty as your eyes". Is it hokey? Yes. Does it work? Ocassionally. Either way, you at least look like you're trying.

Well, we hope these techniques help some of you out. And also, this may be a good time to mention we are in no way liable for any bodily harm, broken TV's, alimony, or increased motherly visits that this advice may lead to.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sports Mean So Very Little

We're going to step back from admiring the Twins facial hair and badmouthing Phil Mickelson for a few minutes here and get a little serious.

As most of you may know, one our favorite sites on sports is the wonderfuly funny Deadspin. They've been good to us here at our little blog and in the list of sports editors, Will Lietch is at the top.

Well some sad news came out of Deadspin today. Deadspin reader Tom Knox lost his brother Adam in Iraq this week.

We send our deepest sympathies out to the Knox Family, and hope that Tom realizes the extended family he has in the great readers and commenters at Deadspin.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Case For Jack Morris

We're going to step into the Way-Back Machine here for a second, so bear with us.

We love, nay worship, the Minnesota Twins. If you couldn't figure that out, then why the hell are you reading a blog titled "Off The Baggie". Oh, I see, you thought it had something to do with pot... Get a job stoner...

Anyway, one of the happiest moments of our childhood back in South Dakota was the 1991 World Series. The world stood still for 7 glorious games that October. Kirby was the man back then. Where we lived, fat people were meant to lay around watching TV, not rob home runs. When he hit that game 6 shot into space, we wept just a little.

All this being said, the most admirable performance of that series wasn't from the rotund one. It was Jack Morris and his game 7 masterpiece. 10 innings, 7 hits, 0 earned runs. As one Twin Cities reporter put it "Morris could have outlasted Methusela".

Normally we're not ones to post someone elses work, but this is just too good. Someone by the name of Gary Zwillinger left this as a comment on one of our posts, and it must be shared. Wherever and whoever you are Gary Zwillinger, you will forever be a friend.



In his first year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, Jack Morris received 101 out of a possible 515 votes cast (19.61%). In his second year, Morris received a similar number and percentage (97 votes out of 472 votes cast – 20.55%). His third year bumped that percentage to approximately 23%. Over the last few years, his numbers have risen to 42.1%. In order to be elected, a candidate must receive at least 75% of the votes cast.

The question is why would the man who: (i) won more games than any major league pitcher during the decade of the 1980’s; (ii) is generally credited with having pitched the defining 7th game of a World Series; (iii) whose 254 career wins exceeds the career win totals of Hall of Famers Carl Hubbell, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Jim Bunning, Hal Newhouser and Bob Lemon, among others, and (iv) was called by Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, the “best of his time, especially when it counted. It never dawned on me that he wouldn't be a first-ballot winner”; be on a course to languish among the large group of “good but not worthy” pitchers over the course of a “solid” career.

The answer, as set forth in this presentation, is that the absence of one or two magnificent “career” years or one meteoric statistic has allowed a clearly worthy Hall of Fame career to be obscured.

The purpose of this presentation is to set the record straight and make the case for Jack Morris’ entry into the Hall of Fame.


The game of comparisons among pitchers from different decades is a tricky one. The use of the total number of wins as the basis for either side of an argument (e.g. Morris won 70 less games than Don Sutton but was clearly more dominant and worthy, or Morris won 89 more games than Sandy Koufax but never reached his heights) provides support for Mark Twain’s distrust for statistics. However, a pitcher’s dominance in comparison to the other pitchers of his time, during the bulk and prime of an extended career, must be a valid yardstick for analysis.

Morris’ prime was the 14-year period from 1979-1992 (he pitched only 151 innings before 1979 and only 2 years after 1992). During that period, his 233 wins were not only the most by a major league pitcher, they were shockingly the most by 41 games (Bob Welch was next at 192, 174 for Dave Stieb and 168 for Nolan Ryan).

The purpose of this analysis is not to detract from Nolan Ryan, but it’s hard to ignore that during a 14 year period of what is Ryan’s “second prime” (it is, after all, Ryan’s longevity and strikeout numbers which propelled him into the Hall so overwhelmingly), Morris outwins the near unanimous first rounder by 65 games.

It’s instructive that 14 consecutive years seems to be an accurate yardstick for great pitchers who stake their Cooperstown claim on the strength of their “prime” (we’ll call them the “Prime Pitchers”) as opposed to the group of great pitchers who base their claims on longevity (we’ll call them the “Endurers”).

Step back 10 years from Morris’ prime and look at the great pitchers of the late 60’s and 70’s. In what is the prime of the great Tom Seaver (1969-1982 - remember 1969 is the “Miracle Mets” year when Seaver wins 25), Seaver wins one game less than Morris in his 14 year prime (233 for Morris and 232 for Seaver). The 14-year period from 1961 to 1974 for Bob Gibson shows Gibson winning 242 games, 9 more than Morris. Jim Palmer’s 14 year prime (1969-1982) has him winning 240 games (7 more than Morris). Steve Carlton’s 14-year prime (1969-1982) is the best of that era at 258 wins followed by Gaylord Perry (14-year prime from 1966-1979) at 255 wins. Ferguson Jenkins’ 14 year prime (1967-1980) is next at 251 wins. Other than the somewhat earlier era career of Warren Spahn (the tops at 270 during his 14 year prime from 1947-1960), the only other two post World War II pitchers to win more than Jack Morris in their 14 consecutive year primes are Greg Maddux ( 1987-2000 – 238 wins – 5 more than Morris) and Juan Marichal (1961-1974 – 237 wins - 4 more than Morris). All of the above are Hall of Famers (including the certain future entry of Maddux)

The following Prime Pitchers fall short of Morris’ 233 wins in his 14-year prime:

• Whitey Ford (1953-1966) 225 wins (Hall of Famer)
• Jim Bunning (1957-1970) 221 wins (Hall of Famer)
• Roger Clemens ((1986-1999) 231 wins (Certain Future Hall of Famer)
• Don Drysdale (1956-1969) full career – 209 wins (Hall of Famer)
• Tom Glavine (1987-2000) 208 wins (Maybe Future Hall of Famer)
• Dennis Martinez (1977- 1990) 159 wins (Unlikely Hall of Famer)
• Robin Roberts (1949-1962) 227 wins (Hall of Famer)
• Bob Welch (1979-1992) 192 wins (Unlikely Hall of Famer)

When we jump to the “Endurers” and give each of them the benefit of the doubt by counting only their “best” 14 years as the basis for the comparison (rather than any one 14 year consecutive period) Morris’ case for immediate entry into Cooperstown is only strengthened. The near unanimous first rounder, Nolan Ryan’s best 14 years gives him 10 less wins than Morris’ prime (Morris’ 233 wins to Ryan’s 223 wins). Bert Blyleven’s so far unsuccessful attempt is based on longevity and strikeouts. Blyleven’s best 14 years are the same as Ryan’s – 223 wins and 10 less than Morris’ prime. Other relevant Endurers and their best 14 years are as follows:

• Orel Hersheiser ---196 wins ---37 less than Morris’ Prime (Unlikely Hall of Famer)
• Bob Feller ---242 wins ---9 more than Morris’ Prime (Hall of Famer)
• Catfish Hunter ---222 wins --- 11 less than Morris’ Prime (Hall of Famer)
• Jim Kaat --- 228 wins --- 5 less than Morris’ Prime (Maybe Future Hall of Famer)
• Jimmy Key ---185 wins --- 48 less than Morris’ Prime (Unlikely Hall of Famer)
• Phil Niekro --- 236 wins --- 3 more than Morris’ Prime (Hall of Famer)
• Don Sutton ---228 wins --- 5 less than Morris’ Prime (Hall of Famer)
• Early Wynn --- 237 wins --- 4 more than Morris’ Prime (Hall of Famer)
• David Cone --- 182 wins – 51 less than Morris’ Prime (Unlikely Hall of Famer)

Whether it’s the “Prime Pitcher” analysis or the “Endurer” analysis, the answer is the same. The only pitchers greater than Morris are the consensus Hall of Famers: Seaver, Palmer, Gibson, Carlton, Jenkins, Perry, Marichal, Maddux (when he retires), Feller, Niekro, Spahn and Wynn. The others who have made it as well as those who haven’t are not at his level and the numbers bear that out.

On a more typical time analysis, the winners of the most games in every decade in the 20th century are all existing. or in the singular case of the 1990's and Greg Maddux, future Hall of Famers except for one; Jack Morris. The 00’s found Grover Cleveland Alexander as the pitcher with the most wins. The 10’s was led by Walter Johnson; the 20’s by Burleigh Grimes; the 30’s by Lefty Grove, and Hal Newhouser was the winningest pitcher in the 40’s. Probably more instructive is the comparison of Morris with the “modern” pitchers. When you make that comparison, Morris is right in the middle of that group and belongs with them in Cooperstown. They are as follows:

 1950’s Spahn 3 more wins than the next highest, Robin Roberts
 1960’s Marichal 33 more than the next highest, Don Drysdale
 1970’s Palmer 8 more than the next 3 highest, Jenkins, Seaver and Carlton
 1980’s MORRIS 22 more than next highest, Dave Stieb
 1990’s Maddux 12 more than next highest, Tom Glavine

Jack Morris is in the rarified air that Hall of Famers occupy. His absence would be a great injustice.


Morris’ curricula vitae is as follows:

• Greatest 7th game pitching performance in World Series History (Game 7, 1991, 10 IP – 0 ER – 7 hits- Winning Pitcher in 1-0 victory over Braves)

• One of the Innovators of the Split Fingered Fastball

• 1979-1992 – 233 Wins- 41 more than the next highest total and 65 more than Nolan Ryan

• 254 career wins in 527 starts – comparable to Jim Palmer’s 268 career wins in 521 starts (consider the talent of the Orioles teams over Palmer’s career against that of Morris’ Tigers)

• 3 seasons with 20 wins or more – compared with Don Sutton’s 1 season- Jim Bunning’s 1 season

• 5 seasons with 17 wins or more (but less than 20 wins). Ryan had 3 - 17+ seasons

• 3824 innings pitched – 6X 250+ innings – 11X 200+ innings

• Pitched on 4 World Champions – Ace of 3 of those teams with a World Series record of 4 wins – 2 losses and a 2.96 ERA in the World Series

• Acknowledged big time clutch pressure pitcher

• Unquestioned Pitcher of the 1980’s

• Pitched a No-Hitter

• Started 14 consecutive Opening Day games during his career, tying him with the great Walter Johnson for most consecutive Opening Day games

• Acknowledged number one pitcher on 1984 Detroit Tigers – one
of baseball’s all time great teams

Absent from the c.v. is any Cy Young Award. He never led the league in ERA. He led
the league in strikeouts only once, innings pitched only once and games won twice.


The picture is clear. While he never dominated for one year in a Koufax or Gibson mode, he did, perhaps more importantly, dominate his era with a magnitude that is the equivalent, at least, of the greatest modern day pitchers. He was the clutch pitcher of his generation and his success in the World Series venue bears that out. When you stack up the numbers, Morris is outperformed only by the most “elite” pitchers of the modern day. Other than those most elite (Seaver, Palmer, Gibson, Carlton, Perry, Spahn, Maddux, Jenkins) existing Hall of Famers fall consistently short of his greatness.

Morris is a Hall of Famer, plain and simple. The absence of a few stellar years or a Ryan like strikeout ability has to be the answer for the results of his first 2 years on the Hall of Fame ballot. BBWAA writers should take note and correct this mistake. Morris may not be the media friendly quote machine of someone like Palmer, but his dominance of his era over an extended career means he belongs there beside Palmer, Seaver, Gibson and Carlton in Cooperstown.

**Update: While we really love the debate that this article has generated, we have to mention once more that we did not write this. If anyone who reads this knows Gary Zwillinger, please hook us up with some contact information so we can get him the credit he deserves for such intelligent work. Whether you agree with him or not, you have to admit it's pretty damn well written...

**Another Update:
This post has spawned the most intelligent debate we've ever had here. If you don't believe us, just look at the comments. Not single use of the word "Poop" or any sentence that threatens our lives because of our hatred for Phil Mickelson.