Phutatorius's picture


Member since 13 May 2011 | Blog

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Comment 26 May 2016

Bill Simmons stopped being the scrappy underdog right around the time his Boston teams stopped being scrappy underdogs.  I told him so, and unsurprisingly, he never wrote me back.

And as a writer who thinks his work is pretty good, too (we all do, right?  or we'd shut it down), I count my 20+ Amazon sales over five years, and I have to say I'm lukewarm on the Internet's promise that the good will out, that if you build it, they will come.

The Net I know tells me that if you build it and a media giant endorses it, then they will come.  And probably start a nasty, irrelevant argument about politics in the comments section while they're there.

Comment 18 May 2016

Would be great to "break the wheel" here -- it's just not clear to me that Delaney and the B1G can do it on their own.  You'd hate to be a leader in this space, then turn around and find nobody's following you.  That happened to me in paintball once and I got my legs shot to ribbons.

ESPN has two ways to stick it to the Big Ten, if the conference ditches for Fox.  The first is passively: ESPN is the place folks go to watch college football.  That's just a fact.  Unless and until people get it in their head that Fox is the place, or a comparable place, they won't see as much Big Ten football.  That means less attention given to the teams that are tearing up the league.  The Pac-12 televises games in the middle of the night (and often on Fox).  People don't see the games, and that surely affects Pac-12 teams' standing in the national consciousness.  ESPN doesn't need to lift a finger to make the Big Ten less relevant.  True, the Big Ten will make Fox more relevant, and Fox is more relevant today than it was yesterday, but there is risk here.

Then there's what ESPN can actively do to screw over the conference: i.e., the conflict of interest.  In its reporting and commentary -- which is influential whether we like it or not -- ESPN can choose to ignore Big Ten teams, understate the importance of the games, declare the play overrated, and so on.  You know, like it's done for years.  College Gameday surely won't be coming to town as often, if an ESPN crew isn't going to be broadcasting the game in question.  Again, you can insist that Gameday is lame, that the Mark May style trash-talking head act is tired, etc. -- but all that content isn't aimed at thoughtful, committed football fans.  Those fans will find the channel that's showing their team and will look elsewhere for bona fide non-conflicted sports commentary, and ESPN knows where they're heading.  They're not hung up on this subset of fandom: their schtick is aimed at everybody else.

That's ESPN's leverage.  It's crappy that they have it, but they have it.  They can work the "journalism" side of their programming to extort a better deal for their compatriots on the broadcast rights side.  They don't even have to make an overt threat -- if they did, it would reflect poorly on them.  All we have to do is look back on the last ten years of treatment they've given Big Ten schools, dating from the last time Delaney flipped them the bird.  He went on to establish BTN, and that was absolutely the right choice for the conference.  Would it have worked as well if he hadn't left some skin in the ESPN game? 

Maybe he goes all Danaerys Targaryen on ESPN's khals (SPOILER ALERT) and burns the place down.  That would be awesome.  I'm just not sure Jimmy and the B1G are fireproof here.

Love that he's playing hardball, though.

Comment 29 Apr 2016

The problem with the NCAA is the mismatch between the laws and the lawbreakers.

Look: I'm no criminal mastermind, but I can do better than these assistant ADs.  Got a text from a player asking for money?  Send a reply text telling him you will never give him money in a million years, then get a burner phone and call him.  Better yet, use that burner phone to call a third-party bagman and send him over with cash.  There's no foolproof way to do this, but for God's sake don't leave a written record of your willing participation on a device outside your control.

You don't have to get an advanced degree in sleaziness to make your way forward in the SEC.  You don't have to have been sorted into frickin' Slytherin.  Watch like six episodes of The Wire, or Homeland, and you'll be orders of magnitude better at Getting Away with Something than these jokers.

(I write this with full awareness that My Beloved Jim Tressel inexplicably kept the Chris Cicero emails in his account for later disclosure to investigators.  But this underscores my point: what that fact -- which the hanging judges in the commentariat failed to explore -- indicates to me is we were dealing with a man who was decidedly not gifted at or experienced with covering up rules violations.)

Somewhat relatedly, hey 11W: have you ever considered hiring an investigative reporter to sniff around Tuscaloosa for dirt?  I realize that's the kind of work that can get a fellow "disappeared" down South.  But it's surely the next step forward for fan-centered journalism, and who wouldn't want to be the Woodward and Bernstein who took down Nick Saban?

Comment 04 Apr 2016

Yeah -- I know.  But he did one for Signing Day, and when I saw this episode added I figured he did one for Spring Practice:

Comment 05 Mar 2016

Yeah — it was pretty terrific.  I had heard great things and wasn't disappointed.  Saw them at the Garden in Boston.  I don't love arena shows, but still I'll make a point to see them every time they come back.

Comment 05 Mar 2016

Saw Muse at the Garden in January.  Have tickets for Titus Andronicus (may not make it), Savages, Belly, and Lush.  So you can probably guess pretty much exactly my age.

Oh, and Mac Sabbath later this month, just because I have to see what that's all about.

Comment 24 Feb 2016

I wouldn't pay him, and if I'm Mark Shapiro I don't have to think too hard to come up with a team that could use an RH power bat in the outfield, esp. if the guy really wants to prove himself in a walk year ...

Comment 01 Feb 2016

True, but there are other pathways to money besides cable markets.  The B1G took Nebraska, after all, when on home gamedays Memorial Stadium is the third largest city in the state.  My sense of the expansion was that Maryland and Rutgers were a cable-market counterweight for what was entirely a football-based add in bringing in Huskers.  But they were willing to swallow the small market in order to bring in a brand-name football team, because a brand-name football team brings eyes to television sets in a different way — i.e., by being watchable, rather than just located near a big metro area.  Of course, the jury's out on whether Nebraska will be watchable in the long term.  In a way, that makes Maryland and Rutgers "safer" choices from a money standpoint: the teams may perennially suck, but those cities aren't going anywhere.  (Or if they are, we've all got bigger problems ...)

Oklahoma presents a different profile — more of a sure thing, football-wise, than UNL, because it can tap into Texas recruits.  But they're pretty far off B1G standards from an academic standpoint, and the OK legislature would probably hold up a move unless the poaching conference took Okie State.  That other OSU has played well recently, but it's not a perennial power, its academics don't cry out for B1G membership, either, and they don't add to the footprint.

Ideally you add a school that hits all three buttons: football blue-blood, big TV markets, B1G-level academics.  Hello, Texas.  Problem was we were willing to swallow A&M to get Texas, but the Texas lawmakers were insisting on Texas Tech, too.  (The "tech problem" Gordon Gee was hinting at in his email.)  Now that the SEC has broken the Texas-A&M axis, I wonder if the B1G would take Texas and Texas Tech.  There's the grant of rights to overcome, though, and Nebraska's aversion to being back in a conference with Texas.  And the Longhorn Network.  But it's such a good fit, it really should happen, once the dust has settled. 

Comment 25 Jan 2016

Look: message boards are social settings, and all social settings have a shared baseline dynamic, where folks establish a hierarchy and try to climb to the top.  There's a formal hierarchy here and an informal one.  The formal one has the 11W crew at the top, mods just below them, and then the rest of us.  Some of the rest of us get tapped by the 11W crew to be mods and contributors, based on what we write here.  The informal hierarchy is established in the usual way, through relationships, which we manage through communications friendly and unfriendly.  And of course we can measure influence with upvotes and downvotes, which isn't ordinary offline.

How do you climb the social ladder?  How do you establish influence?  How do you -- gasp! -- get upvotes?  One obvious way is to be clever.  Another is to kick someone others don't seem to like.  A third way is to appeal to the folks on the top of the hierarchy (and an obvious way to do that is to enforce the norms they've established for the site: e.g., don't open an unnecessary thread).  If you're really slick, you can do all three at once.  So, a new person comes to the site and posts a duplicative thread.  Naturally, a free-for-all follows.

It all makes sense.  It's frickin' programmed into us, as a matter of evolution, to seek to be included in the favored group, to dominate over others, to be celebrated, to score points.  And yeah, it sort of sucks, because it means the discourse deteriorates, some people feel less welcome than others, we spend more time going meta about the discussion than about why we're all here, which is that we're Buckeye fans (which means that TOGETHER we are in a favored group, we dominate over others, we are celebrated, and we score points: and for me that's good enough).  Not sure what can be done about it.  You can say you don't like it, as the OP did.  But he got picked apart -- admittedly in part over how he said it, which opened the door to another free-for-all.

Still, I can see his point.  I, too, am here more for the information than for the community.  So I come looking for information and only participate in the community from time to time.  And that's fine -- the site's very good at providing both.  I might participate more in the community if it was more my kind of community.  But it's not, so fine.  I fully expect the first reply to my post to say something along the lines of (1) Nerd, or (2) TL;DR (and I realize by saying so I've pretty much guaranteed it will happen).  So have at it, people.  We don't have to be friends.  We're all aligned on Saturdays, and that's what counts.