Friday, April 30, 2010

About Those Wall Street Journal "Most-Hated Baseball Teams" Rankings... Not So Fast

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Sal Fasno: Pictured because hes awesome.
  • Sal Fasno: Pictured because he's awesome.

Yeah, about the whole "Indians most-hated team in MLB" thing —

Um, turns out the Journal didn't quite interpret the numbers provided by Nielsen correctly. Jim Caple explains:

But it turns out Cleveland and the Astros are not hated (at least not outside of their own cities). The Journal simply misinterpreted the analysis. A Nielsen rep told the New York Daily News that its rankings were based merely on positive-and-negative feelings generated by teams from their performances the first three weeks of the season. They were not meant to show whether at team was most-hated or most-liked overall. Which explains why teams off to bad or disappointing starts ranked poorly, as well as the Yankees whose lofty standards require that anything short of a ticker-tape parade by May is considered disappointing by their fans.

So relax. Cleveland is not baseball's Bin Laden. And Nielsen ratings haven't been rendered so suspect that Jay Leno's move to prime time may actually have been the most-watched TV show in America.

(Although, I do totally believe Boston clocking in as the No. 2 most hated team.)

So, the Tribe, still pretty hated in Cleveland. Not so much everywhere else.

Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.

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Indians Pondering Progressive Field Jacobs Field Makeover

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 2:24 PM

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Take a gander around Jacobs Field this season and mentally compare it to how you remember our darling ballfield back in the day.

The obvious difference: yeah, the fans are gone. And it's not just the regular Joe's, but the corporate bigwigs, too. Suites are empty, as you could have guessed by the Indians converting one on the first base side to a "Man Cave" for regular fans. All those suites, once filled with economically well-off Clevelanders (yes, they once existed), are empty now, and there's little to no chance the Tribe will be selling any more during the season than they have already.

Other differences are minor and have been unfolding over time: new sponsors in new locations (the Walgreen's sign on the left-field foul pole), the all-you-can-eat seats, the new Social Media deck, etc.

Jacobs Field is now 16-years-old, which isn't ancient by any means, but an age when some updating needs to be done, especially in an economic climate when no one's got money for the $7000 suites, when your team sucks and isn't drawing like it used to, and the team is trying to milk every penny it can from those that do want to come to ballgames still.

It turns out the Indians are one of a handful of teams that have contacted Populous, the firm that designed a few of the quintessential 90's era stadiums, to see what can be done to give the Jake a facelift.


The club levels at Camden Yards will get a second look because the corporate appetite for expensive suites has diminished. It hasn’t helped that the Orioles last had a winning record in 1997 and drew their smallest crowd ever at Camden Yards earlier this season.

The Orioles are not the only team thinking about makeovers. The Cleveland Indians, who opened Progressive Field in 1994 (it was Jacobs Field then), are among the 10 teams looking at ways to revive their parks, said Earl Santee, a senior principal at Populous, the architectural firm that designed Camden Yards, PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Coors Field and other retro stadiums.

Seats, scoreboards and suites have a natural life, he said. The most recent ballparks are putting an emphasis on premium seats with access to exclusive restaurants, as well as food courts for fans sitting elsewhere. Camden Yards may need to reflect that.

That excerpt is from this New York Times piece about Camden Yards and the woman in charge of updating Baltimore's stadium. Good read, check it out.

Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.

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Fun Facts About Shaq's Rap Career

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 2:02 PM

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Uproxx, with seemingly nothing better to do than pour through Shaq Diesel's ill-fated rap career, has come up with some startling facts about the Big Rapper's career in the studio and at the mic.

One of the startling facts: Shaq's rap stint wasn't as ill-fated as we all remember it to be.

Fun facts covered: Shaq went platinum, Shaq rapped with some rap heavyweights, Shaq's freestyling, and this:

2. Shaq’s Recorded With Michael Jackson
You’re not a fan of Shaq’s music? F*ck you. Michael Jackson likes him. And Michael Jackson’s life is worth 7,000 you’s and three Farrah Fawcetts, so unless you have Farrah’s DNA in your condom drawer, I suggest you bow down and praise the Shaqticles.
When Michael Jackson was feeling berated and angry at the media, he developed an edge and launched back with his History album. Who better to bring home MiJack’s new badassness than Shaq? An excerpt from Shaq’s verse:

“Reality brings forth realism”- Indeed. Other lines he considered from that verse includes: “imagining brings forth imagination,” “faking brings forth fakery” and “just die now, English language.” But something had to rhyme with twism. Duh.

“Grab my crotch, twist my knee, then I’m through”- This is why you have to always stretch before you grab your crotch. Last time I grabbed my crotch, I pulled my hamstring. The time before that, I was tasered by the park rangers. In conclusion, no I don’t know what the f*ck he’s talking about.

Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.

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Dime Magazine Catches Up With Craigh Ehlo (He's Playing Pickup With Stockton These Days)

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 1:17 PM

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Remembered forever outside of Cleveland as the guy flailing below His Airness on The Shot, there's plenty more in Ehlo's life — coaching, broadcasting, hooping with John Stockton in Spokane, admiring the short shorts that Stockton still wears on the court, and more.

DIME's got a nice little Q&A. Here's just a tiny bit.

Dime: Do you still play in pick-up games around Spokane?
Craig Ehlo: I play twice a week. You’re going to like this one, I know you’re familiar with John Stockton; he built a gym here (in Spokane) using the old Utah Jazz floor from the Salt Palace. He bought a couple of old warehouses and he’s got five courts in there — he opens it up on Sundays for us to play. A lot of old Gonzaga players play, like Casey Calvary and Richie Frahm — so it’s an old guys thing — but he also lets the local high school kids come in. So they get to kind of learn and play against better competition. It’s fun and if you know John, he doesn’t goof around. It’s games to seven and you play your butt off or you don’t play at all.

Dime: Do you guys ever bust out your old NBA jerseys during the games?
CE: Now here’s the funny thing, John wears his old shorts from probably when he was in high school that come up around mid-thigh and some old Nikes that I bet you are 1984 models. So he’s nostalgic. It’s funny too because we play skins and shirts, and sometimes him and I have to take our shirts off and it’s not pretty — but John’s in the kind of shape that he played in for 19 years and he can run forever. Matter of fact, just yesterday we won three games in a row and I was like ‘I can’t go again, it’s too much,’ and John was like ‘get your butt up here, we’re going to go again.’

Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.

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The Black Keys are Homage Clothing Fans

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Pat Carney donning the "Ten Cent Beer Night" tee from Homage at a concert in Alabama.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cavs and Celtics Bad Blood — A Timeline in Video

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 2:20 PM

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The Cavs and Celts may have only met once in the playoffs in recent years, which is a little hard to believe, but the rivalry is nasty and deep-seated. They've fought for top-dog status at the top of the Eastern Conference each of the last four years, and those four regular season bouts each season are just that — bouts. Bloody and chippy, built on a grudge. There's a reason Mo Williams declared, "We don't like them. They don't like us."

Fans got a precursor of how the Eastern Conference Semis might play out between the Celtics and the Cavs the last time the two teams were on the same floor.

It was the near-classic contest on April 4th when Boston had blown a 20-point second half lead and LeBron James missed a three with under five seconds to play that would have put the Cavs up. After the miss with 3.2 seconds remaining and during the subsequent time out, LeBron found himself in the middle of the Celtics huddle near their bench. Surrounded by white jerseys, LeBron was verbally hashing it out with a couple Celts.

Tony Allen was chirping at LeBron. Kevin Garnett was chirping too. And in the background, there was Paul Pierce getting in some words of his own. And I'm sure LeBron was just letting them know he wouldn't miss next time, even as the Celts were crowing that they'd stop him again. (Quick note: As the Sports Guy tweeted that night, "BTW, Tony Allen caused all the bad blood by trashtalking LBJ after the missed 3. Savvy, Tony. Piss off the best player alive.")

The culmination of the physical game — six techs were dolled out between the two teams — was heated but playful trash talk banter. Knowing they'd be tipping off against one another at some point in the playoffs, there was a brief contest of who could puff out their chest further, just so the other team would have something to look forward to come playoff time.

So, yeah, expect some hard fouls (it's only a matter of time before Perkins goes after LeBron's elbow, right?), blood, and I'm betting at least one ejection.

With that in mind, here's the CliffNotes version of how we got here in video form, starting with the above mentioned game in April where LeBron took residence in Boston's huddle and Tony Allen did a really smart thing in calling out the best player in the league. Surely that's going to end well for Mr. Allen.

Then there's the always classy preseason game fight between Sheldon Williams and Mo Williams.

The "Sit your ass down" hard foul in the playoffs.

Big Baby maybe but probably not trying to intentionally injure Shaq's broken finger.

And, finally, LeBron's vicious assault on Kevin Garnett's face. (I'm sure I'm missing more, I know.)

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Indians Most Hated Team in MLB

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 1:50 PM

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The Wall Street Journal, in conjunction with Nielsen, gauged opinion towards every team in MLB by sorting through "positive" and "negative" descriptions online.

At the top? Or the bottom in this case. The Tribe, who scored a 0.9 on the -5 to 5 scale.

Contrary to popular belief, the Yankees are only the fifth-most despised team in the majors, according to an Internet algorithm built by Nielsen Co. that analyzes how people feel about certain things. This service typically uses various keywords to find out whether people have positive, negative or neutral reactions to different brands and products. No team registered a negative mark on Nielsen's "sentiment scale," which ranges from -5 to 5, but the Yankees (1.8) were one of only six teams to score lower than 2. The Mets finished four spots higher, making them the ninth most-hated team. "Even Yankee fans don't hate the Mets these days," says Benjamin Kabak, a writer for the River Avenue Blues Yankees blog. "We just feel bad for them."

That might have something to do with the proliferation of accurate descriptions of the Cleveland Indians and their players in recent years. Terms like mooks, assholes, wastes of life, dessicated husks (shout out to Steve Buffum), bottomless pits of suckitudes, and Jason Michaels and David Delluccis were bandied about when Cleveland talked baseball.

I figure Cleveland's score would have improved by at least a full point had they not considered anything written about Travis Hafner.

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