Sunday, October 5, 2008

2008-2009 Predicted Standings

Eastern Conference
  1. Montreal
  2. Washington
  3. NY Rangers
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. Buffalo
  6. Tampa Bay
  7. Boston
  8. Philadelphia
  9. Ottawa
  10. New Jersey
  11. Carolina
  12. Florida
  13. NY Islanders
  14. Atlanta
  15. Toronto
Western Conference
  1. Detroit
  2. San Jose
  3. Calgary
  4. Anaheim
  5. Dallas
  6. Colorado
  7. Chicago
  8. Edmonton
  9. Columbus
  10. Minnesota
  11. Phoenix
  12. St. Louis
  13. Nashville
  14. Vancouver
  15. Los Angeles
I won't go into too much detail about my methodology (highly scientific, much too complicated), but I will explain a few things.
  • I've been waiting a while for New Jersey's success to disintegrate, and clearly I'm pegging this as the year. In all likelihoods they'll sneak into the playoffs yet again, losing in the first round to a far, far superior team, but what little glimmer of hope I have that the Devils will fail is all I need.
  • Maybe it's because I've only ever predicted the playoffs, where goaltending is huge, but starting goalies were a pretty big factor in these picks. Ottawa and Columbus's skaters, for instance, are of vastly different quality, but vastly different qualities of goaltenders puts them both at 9th.
  • The possibility of trades was never considered with any team. Unless they're done early in the season, I don't believe they dramatically alter a team's position in the standings.
  • Personal biases were considered with pretty much every team. For instance, I claim goaltending is a huge factor, yet the only reason I put the Canucks as high as 14th is that the Kings are too disasterous to be anything but dead last. This is because I live in Vancouver.
Here's hoping the Bruins and Avs bump themselves up, and that someone bumps off both first place teams.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Shaughnessy's Remarks Are Sad

I usually read mainstream sports articles only for recaps, quotes from players, or other bits of information I need. Especially with the writers we have covering the Red Sox in Boston, anything outside of that feels like a gossip column- sensationalist, idiotic, unimportant and self-important fluff. Ninety percent of the time, it's not even worth getting upset about.

Then there's the other ten percent. His name is Dan Shaughnessy.
Those air sickness bags come in handy sometimes. Flying coast to coast, you cram into your coach seat (like John Glenn in Mercury 1), open the paper to read Manny Ramírez's latest remarks, and you need the barf bag before you're over Kansas.
Quick show of hands here. Which person do you feel worse for- Shaughnessy for being stuck in a coach seat (from the sound of it, literally), or his seatmate for being stuck next to Shaughnessy? We can only hope that the poor guy had a soft spot for nauseas panderers, or at least that he had some way to entertain himself.

But this article ("Ramirez's remarks are sad") isn't about Dan Shaugnessy's numerous personal hardships, or about getting back at Manny for hating on the Boston sports media. It's about the fans, who should be enraged at the unbelievably pompous way Manny has taken them for granted.
We know what he thinks of you. He thinks all you Sox fans are losers who need to get a life. You just care too darn much. It doesn't matter how much love you showered on his head. You bothered him with all that caring.
It's a horrifically disrespectful, completely unwarranted, and almost painfully delusional thing to say. For Shaughnessy, that is, because Manny didn't actually say that. He said this.
"It's just a different atmosphere. The fans in Boston got your back no matter what, but I'm talking about the people who write all this bull because it means so much to them. If your happiness depends on Boston winning or losing, you have to get a life."
This was quoted in Shaughnessy's article. It was his "favorite part of the rant". If he expects to pull off that sort of blatant misrepresentation, it should be clear to Sox fans who really thinks they're losers. I know- it isn't worth getting upset over something so crassly manipulative, and even hypocritical to respond so cruelly. But in this article, Shaughnessy almost perfectly demonstrates what's so wrong about most sports writers. They don't care about sports.

A fan is someone who wants their team to win. They watch the game from their team's perspective. They root for offense when their team is batting and defense when their team is fielding. They always see calls in their team's favor, however irrationally. They love players that help their team win and hate players that help their team lose. Behind all of that there's a passion that causes them emotional trauma and ecstasy but can never be extinguished or satisfied.

A good sports writer is someone whose writing is relatable to fans, not because he also has to fly coach, or is also overweight, or also failed either history or math in high school (there was no Mercury 1), but because he is also driven by that same passion. I don't know what Shaughnessy's driven by (greed, fame, totally distorted self-image), but I don't really care. He said all he needs to when he tried to prove why Manny was actually talking about the fans.
He's right about some of this. There certainly are people in Boston whose happiness is connected to the Sox' fortunes. But it's not the "people who write this bull." Trust me when I tell you that Sox wins and losses have zero bearing on my happiness.
Real fans of the Red Sox shouldn't be reading someone who admits to not caring about the team (someone who would be happier with the Sox losing if it gave him something to write about), and maybe real fans don't. CHB is pretty universally hated by anyone even mildly familiar with Boston sports media, and it'd be nice to think that at least these people are intelligent enough to form their own opinions on issues surrounding the team. But there's no denying that a mass exists that lets itself and its passion for their team be poisoned by all the negativity we're being bombarded with.

Professional sports aren't all hugs and sunshine and unicorns, and I'm neither defending Manny nor claiming anything he says actually makes sense. But I've let it go. That's the result a lot of people want from this situation, and soon. Manny puts it well.
"Just let me be happy someplace else."
Yeah, he's still talking about it, but Shaughnessy isn't exactly convincing with his "give it up, Manny" routine. He's the one still reporting it, "reluctantly" or not. The Sox are in the playoffs. We just won our first game against the best team in the league. We get to look at Jacoby Ellsbury almost every day. And Manny is having a good time, too. Instead of letting us be happy, Shaughnessy fabricates insults to incite the rage of Boston fans, and while he may be the worst with this, it's not just him. I'm just tired of the hyenas that cover the team I love, and I wish there were more of those writers whose passion is their team and not their ego.
Add to Technorati Favorites