Archive for November, 2005

WOW Continues to Un-WOW Players

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

The latest news from World of Warcraft:

New Realms Live! – Ordinn on 11/30/05
We’re glad to announce the opening of four new realms! If you’re just beginning your adventures in Azeroth, or a veteran looking for a fresh start, these realms are the place for you! Come forge a new community on the following realms:
Aegwynn PVP
Akama PVP
Chromaggus PVP
Draka PVE

Join these realms and enjoy your adventures in the yet-untamed lands of Azeroth!

Realm-to-Realm Transfers Available – Ordinn on 11/29/05
The following realm-to-realm transfers will become available Wednesday November 30, at 3:00 AM PST:
Tichondrius > Kalecgos
Illidan > Ursin
Sargeras > Detheroc

These transfers will be available at the normal time, 3:00AM-3:00PM PST, until December 7, at 3:00PM.

Realm-to-realm character transfers are offered in order to alleviate queue times and overpopulation. If you’re not satisfied with your realm’s performance, moving to a realm with a lower population can make your play experience more enjoyable. Please plan accordingly and take advantage of this opportunity!

The problem with the aboave news is that WOW continues to be a very poorly maintained game. Even worse is the fact that Blizzard Games continues to add new stuff to the game without correcting any of the problems afflicting it. There are major problems that hurt gamers on the game’s opening day that continue to exist in the game. Yet Blizzard does nothing since it fugures that gamers are like lemmings. After all, there have been similar problems with all of Blizzard’s games since the company’s creation, yet gamers continue to line up and pay big bucks for the company’s latest offerings.

What gamers need to do to force Blizzard to act as a responsible company is to boycott Blizzard’s games and services until such time as the company acts to provide the quality gaming experience that it has been promising all along.

One Way to Save Energy

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Want to save on energy and in that way help to defeat OPEC? Here’s a way suggested by Internet columnist Glenn Harlan Reynolds :

encouraging online shopping might be one way to promote energy conservation. Shopping online saves energy — you don’t drive from store to store, and the delivery vans that deliver packages to hundreds of customers per trip are surely more energy-efficient than having those customers all drive out to pick up their packages.

Sounds like a good idea.

Tribune Co. Greed at the L.A. Times

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Once upon a time, the Los Angeles Times (LAT) was one of the best newspapers in the land. Then the Chicago-based Tribune Company took it over and let its greed run rampant in L.A. Despite the fact that profits are at an all time high of $200 million for just that one paper, the Tribune Co. bosses who have already presided over the journalistic decline of the flagship Chicago Tribune, have decided to more or less gut the LAT. They have already fired the paper’s longtime editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez as well as Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Bill Stall for basically stupid reasons. Now, according to this
publisher’s memo
, the LAT is about to be deprived of yet more journalistic talent just so the short term profit margin obsessed Tribune Co. can reap even more bucks:

Nov. 16, 2005
To the Editorial Staff
From Dean Baquet

I very much regret to announce that The Times will have to lose about 85 newsroom jobs before the end of the year. A few of the cuts have already been made through attrition. Some will come through a voluntary separation program. But others, unfortunately, will come through layoffs. The exact breakdown won’t be known until we see how many people apply for the voluntary separation package.

You all know that this is a rough year for newspapers. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have also announced significant cuts in staff or expenses. Other Tribune newspapers are making similar reductions in response to rising newsprint costs and concerns over a continuing decline in revenue.

Still, this is our second straight year of staff reductions, and this is a painful announcement to make. It is one I’ve worked hard to avoid.

I’m aware that the newsroom has been anxiously waiting some announcement, and that this has created much distress. But it doesn’t show in our paper. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the tremendous work every department has done throughout an uncertain time.
Just as I’m not forgetting what you have accomplished in the past few months, neither should you. The Katrina coverage matched the epic nature of the story. The foreign staff and the Washington bureau have continued their compelling coverage of the war and its domestic repercussions. Steve Lopez and the metro investigative unit have changed laws and institutions. The paper has produced hard-hitting exclusives on the problems at the Getty, and the liver transplant program at UC Irvine. Features continues to provide cutting edge coverage of culture and the arts.

We just published another great local investigative series, the conservators project. Other major projects are about to land, from almost every department of the paper. We’ve finished a major redesign of the magazine, and we’re rebuilding the Orange County operation. In essence, we are making big bets on the future even as we are being forced to cut.

Due to financial pressures, we are on a very short timeframe, and people will only have until 5 p.m. Nov. 25 to apply for a separation package. After that, we will decide which positions must be eliminated through layoffs.

Information about the separation program will be available online later today. Susan Denley is organizing some meetings for editorial staff members to answer questions about the separation program over the next few days. She and Senior Manager Oracio Galindo of the Human Resources Department will try to help in any way they can. Susan will follow up later today with a note laying out more details.

Despite these cuts, nothing will keep us from chasing the biggest stories. And we simply can’t lose sight of our ambitions to compete as one of the country’s great newspapers. We have the second largest newsgathering staff in the country–and the best. Working with Jeff, we will handle these staff reductions as humanely as possible, and with an eye toward avoiding cuts that hamper our core mission of providing powerful stories and photography.

The Times is the most resilient newspaper in the country. It is one of the reasons we love it. We’re in for a few difficult weeks, but we will get through this.

Way Back in 1998………….

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

The Mudville Gazette did the Wayback Machine thing for 1998 and came up with stuff that the Democrats have conveniently forgotten about. Well worth your time.

Astros Daily

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

By far and away, the single best Houston Astros fansite is Astros Daily. Here’s a sample of the kind of analysis that you can find at AD:

All quiet on the Astros front
The 2005-2006 interregenum remains a quiet one so far, following the pattern of last off-season, which led to the Astros losing out on the Carlos Beltran FA sweepstakes (a blessing in disguise, as it turned out).
The biggest news so far is that division rival Cincinnati claimed Houston pitcher Mike Burns off the waiver wire last week. The Astros released Charles Gipson, and moved five minor league prospects onto the 40-man roster.

Craig Biggio re-signed before the 2005 season ended, so he’ll be back for at least one more year in his quest for 3000 hits, and the subsequent ticket to Cooperstown that that milestone would earn him.

Roger Clemens and Brad Ausmus have filed for free agency. It remains to be seen whether the two are as joined at the hip as Rocket intimates, and whether his 40-something body is up to another season’s wear and tear.

Clemens’ status is at the crux of Houston’s off-season constraints. His $18M 2005 salary looms large in whether the Astros can afford a much-needed bat — preferably a corner outfielder — and a legitimate #5 starter. And that situation is itself conditioned by whether Jeff Bagwell can return to any semblance of his old self at the plate. Forget about Bagwell retiring — his contracts have been backloaded for years and he has more than earned the money.

Free agent role-players such as Jose Vizcaino and Orlando Palmeiro are also on the cusp.

GM Tim Purpura and company have their work cut out for them this winter. Hopefully, the Clemens/Ausmus situation can be resolved sooner rather than later so the Astros can find out how much is left in their budget for some much-needed help, and perhaps offer their fans some nice Christmas presents.

Dumping on Rachel Ray

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Lately, a young lady named Rachel Ray has been making a name for herself as both an author and as a lady on the Food Network. However, not everyone is a fan of hers. Here, for example, is an attack on her that ran last year in a Yahoo! news group:

This woman drives me INSANE. My girlfriend forced me to watch her show about a month ago so that we could goof on it and Rachel was so annoying that it was hard to even make fun of her. Right off the bat, she started in with her hip abbreviation for Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is “E.V.O.O.”…but every time she says “E.V.O.O.”, she still has to say “extra virgin olive oil” to remind everyone what she is talking about, which completely insults the idea of a timesaving abbreviation. It takes her more time to explain what the hell “EVOO” is than to just say “extra virgin olive oil” and move on. Nick pretty much covered the rest of it when he was talking about her but that “EVOO” thing makes me crazy. On the episode that I saw, Ray had invaded a block party and was forcing these kids to make fresh lemonade and I thought that, at any moment, these 3 kids were going to corner her, tie her down, and smash lemon wedges into her face to shut her up…or at least settle her down a little. If any of you good people are going down to the book signing, wear a helmet and good luck.
– Dan

Not Getting Prussian Blue

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

There is a singing duet known as “Prussian Blue” comprised of 2 fetching blonde twin girls who would like you to believe that they are Hitler lovers. Actually, if you listen to their songs intently and watch their antics right down to their Hitler smiley face T-Shirts, you will find that the whole thing is actually a parody of Nazis and Nazism.

That’s why this trollish article is so hard to comprehend. One would think that a would be big media player such as “Pajamas Media” would get it, but apparently going around stirring up controversy just for the sake of it is too ingrained in the would be Dan Rathers of the world.

Of Democrats and Space Exploration

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

The latest issue of The Space Review has an interesting article by one Jeff Brooks who starts his piece thusly:

I spent a large chunk of 2004 in the trenches of a vicious political battle in Austin, serving as a staffer to a Democratic candidate who was attempting to unseat a Republican member of the Texas State Legislature. It was one of hundreds of such campaigns then being waged across the country, some large and others small, all of them taking place in the shadow of the fierce presidential contest between George W. Bush and John Kerry.

Surrounded as I was by partisan Democrats, I heard more than my fair share of ridicule and exasperation directed against President Bush. In most cases, I laughed at the jokes or joined in the denouncements just as heartily as any of my colleagues. After all, I strongly disagreed with Bush’s positions on just about every conceivable issue and still do. I imagine that veterans of 2004 Republican campaigns heard similar digs directed towards John Kerry.

But, much to the surprise of my colleagues, I rushed to the defense of President Bush whenever the subject of the Vision for Space Exploration came up.

Brooks puts the position that most Democrats have nowadays about space exploration this way:

Immediately following Bush’s January, 2004, announcement of NASA’s new mandate to return to the Moon and prepare for an expedition to Mars, it became fashionable for Democrats to trash the project. Most of the major contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination tossed out sarcastic or dismissive comments. Senator Lieberman went so far as to claim, without evidence, that the program would cost a trillion dollars. When the Spirit Mars rover experienced a near-fatal glitch shortly after Bush’s announcement, some Democrats made comments that sounded suspiciously as if they actually wanted the robot to fail.

All this is ironic given the Democrats’ previous position about the space program as Brooks points out:

If unsurprising, I did find the sudden Democratic opposition to space exploration rather ironic. After all, the Democratic Party has historically been very supportive of space exploration. It is no coincidence that the two most important NASA facilities in the country, Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center, are named after Democratic presidents. John F. Kennedy had the political courage and wisdom to launch the Apollo program and Lyndon B. Johnson had the political skill and willpower to see it through. When John Glenn ran for the Senate, he did so as a Democrat.

Brooks also points out that space exploration and industrialization are still every bit as relevant to the larger Democrat Party agenda of today as it was back when John F. Kennedy was president in the early 1960’s:

In response to the suggestion that we should solve our problems on Earth before we head out into space, which is what most objections to space exploration eventually come down to, I would respond that the solutions to many of our problems are to be found in space.

Consider protecting the environment, which Democrats claim as one of their main issues. A solid reason to support a robust space program is that, in the long run, genuine solutions to our planet’s environmental problem will require easy access to space.

The single greatest cause of environmental damage is the production of energy. Conventional power-generation technology involves the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil or the use of nuclear fission reactors, and we know that renewable energy sources can only go so far in replacing fossil fuel and nuclear fission power. In the long run, the only genuine solutions to these problems require the use of space resources. Space-based solar power is one possible answer; nuclear fusion using lunar helium-3 is another. Energy beyond imagining, more than enough to lift the entire world up into an acceptable standard of living, without polluting a single environment, is ours for the taking. We simply have to decide to do it.

Others have pointed out the immense potential of exploiting the resources of the asteroid belt, which contains sufficient raw materials to meet every conceivable need of humanity. Automated mining operations could dismantle the asteroids and transport them to Earth orbit, where they could brought down to the surface using space elevator technology, now under development. If we could successfully exploit the resources of the Asteroid Belt, we would never again have to carve huge scars into our planet’s surface in our quest for resources.

So, imagine a world without smokestacks or stripe mines, a world where the air we breathe and the water we drink is not tainted with noxious chemicals, a world where all our energy and material needs are met by the resources of the solar system, freeing the Earth to be the paradise we all want it to be. Rather than simply complaining about environmental problems, easy access to space would give us the power to actually do something about this.

This kind of thinking may be visionary and imaginative, but what’s wrong with having vision and imagination? If you ask me, the main problem in modern politics is that our so-called “leaders” are distinctly lacking in the field of vision and imagination. Societies that become overly cautious and averse to risk are societies that will not be around for very long.

As the party that claims to be the progressive force in American politics, the Democrats could use some vision and imagination as they lay what their vision of the future. The knee-jerk opposition to Bush’s space proposals among the 2004 Democratic presidential candidates illustrates that the powers-that-be within the party are more concerned with scoring political points than holding true to their progressive values.

Basically Brooks’ article and ideas should be must reading for Democrats who are really serious about making their party the majority party once again.

“Green Energy” Destroys Rain Forests

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

From the Department of Unintended Consequences courtesy of FuturePundit :

Hey, I’ve repeatedly said that biomass crops are mostly a bad idea. Why increase the demand for crop land in the tropics? High efficiency photovoltaics will use less land area than biomass and most photovoltaics could be placed on existing human structures. Greenies who want immediate reductions in fossil fuels consumption ought to look at better insulation and building designs. For the medium and long term we should be accelerating nuclear and photovoltaics research and development. Better battery technology is the way to reduce the need for liquid fuels. With higher energy density and cheaper batteries we can get transportation energy from nuclear, wind, and photovoltaics.

SAP President Idiot

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

It appears that the president of SAP, Shai Agassi, is an idiot. He is reported to have claimed that the open source software movement is “intellectual property socialism” . Specifically, he said:

Intellectual property [IP] socialism is the worst that can happen to any IP-based society,” he said. “And we are an IP-based society. If there is no way to protect IP, there is no reason to invest in IP.

Open source software is a means by which independent non-profit oriented software creators can compete with the likes of Microsoft and present viable alternatives for the consumer. Dolts like Agassi who cannot see or understand that do not deserve to hold the corporate positions that they currently hold.

Tammy Bruce: Turkey Chef

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

Those of you who were O.J. Simpson trial addicts might remember Tammy Bruce who was a regular on many of the O.J. trial shows esp. that of Geraldo Rivera. She has since become an author and syndicated columnist and has her very own website. Apparently, she is fixing on trying to get on the Food Network since that is likely the only network that she has not yet been a guest on. Here is her recipe for cranberry sauce that looks an awful lot like the one that this writer’s mother used:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 (16-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped apple
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the cranberries and return to a boil, then lower the heat so that the liquid simmers. Add the apples, walnuts, raisins, Grand Marnier, orange and lemon juices, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool. Makes 4-5 cups.

Mmmm….

Stuff On My Cat

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

For those with feline interests, there is now Stuff On My Cat. Looks like a barrel full of kitties.

Is GameRifts Dead?

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

Is GameRifts.com dead? That is what a lot of folks are wondering in light of the fact that the long-running Massively Multiplayer Online Games news and views website has not been updated since Oct. 27th (it had been updated at least once or twice a week previous to then) and there has been zero forum activity there since Oct. 21st. Also, the offer section on the front page reads: “Exclusive [Ends In 0 Days 0 Hours 0 Minutes] .”

All this may not be terribly surprising since GR only places #643,879 on the Alexa Traffic Rankings and has suffered a loss of 225,759 spots in the short term. By comparison, OMGN ranks #136,036 on Alexa and has gone up 44,905 spots.

It would be sad for gamers to lose a consistently reliable, informative and fun website such as GR. Hopefully, this is only a temporary slow down.

Lev Gleason’s Sicko Comic Books

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Wanna see some really sick and lurid comic book covers? Just access this thread and scroll down and get a load of the Crime Does Not Pay covers. Lev Gleason was one of the two (EC Comics was the other) comic book publishers of the 1940’s and 1950’s whose excesses brought about the formation of the Comics Code Authority and censorship of comic books that continues to some extent even today.

New Diaspora Remake “The Reunion”

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

The Nexus has just learned of a new remake of the classic download game Diaspora that expired in Summer, 2002. This game is called The Reunion . More on this development later.

It Really is a Blog Blaster

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

Just when you thought that things on the spam front could not get any worse,,now comes Blog Blaster that literally blasts the comment areas of blogs such as this one with tons upon tons of spam. If this blog ever stops accepting comments, then it will because of spam generated by the likes of BB. Its already flood time if you have to wade through the myriads of worthless spam that’s congesting the submitted comments areas. Stuff like BB is the death of reasoned discourse on the Internet.

Newspapers Take a Circulation Beating

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

Further Proof that American Newspapers are not delivering a quality service:

Average weekday circulation of America’s 20 biggest newspapers for the six-month period ended Sept. 30, as reported Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. [The percentage changes are from the comparable year-ago period.]

1. USA Today, 2,296,335, down 0.59 percent

2. The Wall Street Journal, 2,083,660, down 1.10 percent

3. The New York Times, 1,126,190, up 0.46 percent

4. Los Angeles Times, 843,432, down 3.79 percent

5. New York Daily News, 688,584, down 3.70 percent

6. The Washington Post, 678,779, down 4.09 percent

7. New York Post, 662,681, down 1.74 percent

8. Chicago Tribune, 586,122, down 2.47 percent

9. Houston Chronicle, 521,419, down 6.01 percent

10. The Boston Globe, 414,225, down 8.25 percent

11. The Arizona Republic, 411,043, down 0.54 percent

12. The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., 400,092, up 0.01 percent

13. San Francisco Chronicle, 391,681, down 16.4 percent

14. Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul, 374,528, down 0.26 percent

15. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 362,426, down 8.73 percent

16. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 357,679, down 3.16 percent

17. Detroit Free Press, 341,248, down 2.18 percent

18. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 339,055, down 4.46 percent

19. The Oregonian, Portland, 333,515, down 1.24 percent

20. The San Diego Union-Tribune, 314,279, down 6.24 percent.

The 2005 Chicago Horror Festival

Monday, November 7th, 2005

Following are the award winners from the 2005 Chicago Horror Film Festival :

Best Director – Dylan Bank (Nightmare)
Best Feature Film – Nightmare
Best Short Film – Mexican Hat
Best Animated Short – Little Dead Girl
Best Comedic Horror Film – Dead Shift
Best Screenplay – Cost of Living
Best Concept – Death Squad
Best Cinematography – Puca
Best Visual Effects – Alien Abduction
Best Actor – Doug Bradley (On Edge)
Best Actress – Nicole Roderick (Nightmare)

:::People\’s Choice Awards:::

Friday, Oct. 28th – The Mangler Reborn
Saturday, Oct. 29th – Bad Reputation
Sunday, Oct. 30th – Nightmare
Tuesday, Nov. 1st – Experiment
Wednesday, Nov. 2nd – Alien Abduction
Thursday, Nov. 3rd – Camp Daze

Guests:

Dylan Bank, Dir. (Nightmare)
Weston Blakesley, Actor (The Mangler Reborn)
Steve Christopher, Actor (Confederate Zombie Massacre)
Terry L. Robbins & Ioana A. Miller, Prod. (WIthIN)
Angelique Hennessy, Jerad Anderson, Sean A. Mulvihill, and T.W. Porrill,
Actors (Bad Reputation)
Forrest Allison, DP (Bad Reputation)
Chris Landers, Prod. (Bad Reputation)

In case you are wondering why this is the first mention of this festival on this blog, the track record of Chicagoland horror film festivals has been pretty bad lately given the recent abject failures of Flashback Weekend and the Music Box Massacre. However, since a number of horror fan friends of this writer attended the Chicago Horror Festival and reported that it was a great time, these awards are presented here and come next year, this blog will cover this festival.

Minor League Offers GM Position to Loser

Friday, November 4th, 2005

Here’s a PR release from the folks at the Golden League:

Golden Baseball League Offers Paul DePodesta Long Beach Armada
President and General Manager Position

The Golden Baseball League today announced that Paul DePodesta
has officially been offered the position of President and
General Manager of the Long Beach Armada. The offer was faxed
today to his representatives at the Greater Talent Network.
The GBL believes DePodesta to be the perfect candidate for
the job due to the combination of his two years at the helm
of the Los Angeles Dodgers, his familiarity and craftiness
with small budgets, and the Armada being the only Professional
Baseball team in Los Angeles area with a vacant GM position
at this time.

“We certainly were inspired by the Brockton Rox offer to Theo
Epstein earlier today and applaud them on opening the door
to a new source of administrative talent for the Independent
Minor Leagues,” said David Kaval, CEO of the Golden Baseball
League. “But more importantly, Paul DePodesta is the best
man available in the L.A. market and we are thrilled to make
this offer. We believe that his proven creativity in team-building
will improve an already fine Armada squad, led by
manager Darrell Evans.”

The Long Beach Armada qualified for the 2005 GBL Playoffs in
the wildcard spot out of the California Division last season.
The Armada were later eliminated as the San Diego Surf Dawgs,
with Rickey Henderson, won the inaugural GBL title. Key
challenges that DePodesta will face will include rebuilding
a team that had star players purchased by the Atlanta Braves,
Taiwan Sinon Bulls, and the Winnipeg Goldeyes, along with
securing a better bus deal and getting the smoke cannons of
the Spanish Galleon mounted on the outfield wall at Blair
Field to actually work.

“I will give him plenty of help on the player personnel,” said
Long Beach Armada manager Darrell Evans, “as long as he doesn’t
do a Lo Duca on my catcher, Chris Miller.”

“Paul will be treated like any other GM in the league and we
will be scrutinizing his roster and transactions for compliance,”
said GBL Commissioner Kevin Outcalt. “He will be held
to the $88,000 player payroll cap for the season. We are also
confident that the Dodgers’ record last year was no fault
to DePodesta, and we can guarantee that his Long Beach Armada
team will not lose as many games in our 90-game season.”

While
the compensation package for the position is a bit less
than DePodesta enjoyed with the Dodgers, the GBL is offering
a lucrative book deal currently under discussion with publishers
to produce “No Money Ball – A Guide to Minor League
Success.”

This is fitting since Paul DePodesta was the man who ruined the Los Angeles Dodgers as General Manager, ataking them from 1st in 2004 to 4th in 2005 and then scapegoated Manager Jim Tracy, among others, for the decline. DePodesta traded off talented players such as Paul Lo Duca and got little in return. What a loser. Losers like him do not deserve any type of position at Major League clubs.

Rob & Rany Blather On

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

One of the worst aspects of the baseball blogosphere is the fact that most bloggers prefer attitude and name calling over serious analysis. Even worse is the fact that in the pursuit of making a name for themselves as being fearless upholders of the fans’ interests against the evil/stupid baseball professionals who run the teams, baseball bloggers all too often get their facts mixed up, seriously distort things to make dubious points or just flat out lie.

One of the worst baseball blogs out there is Rob & Rany on the Royals . Unlike most baseball bloggers, Rob Neyer and Rany Jazayerli seem to be aware of the fact that their writings are just so much drivel as shown by the fact that only their most recent post can be accessed from the Web and their previous posts are inaccessible and presumably lost to the ether of the Internet. This makes it hard to hold them to their predictions and also their faulty analyses. As a result, their posts are used as models by other bloggers who do not realize that their models are actually pretty shaky.

This is not the case for their writings elsewhere. For example, ESPN writer Rob Neyer was all over the map this year concerning both the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros alternately proclaiming that their seasons were going to end with their players watching others play in the postseason to predicting that they would end their seasons in glory and various points in between. One reason for making such contradicting predictions and proclamations is that after the season ended, Neyer could claim to have correctly predicted that the Astros & White Sox would be winners this year. In other words, lameness.

Since their blog has not been updated since early October, its possible to do an in depth analysis of their deficiencies as alleged baseball experts. Here’s one of Rany Jazayerli’s first paragraphs concerning KC Royals GM Allard Baird and Manager Buddy Bell:

To me, this year spelled the beginning of the end of the Allard Baird era. Specifically, my excuses for Allard ran out the day he hired Buddy Bell. It’s been four months – and about 70 losses – since Buddy was hired, and I still don’t know what his credentials are. Does he understand that he’s in a rebuilding mode? Judging from all the at-bats he’s given Terrence Long the last two months, no. (Going into the last series of the year, Matt Diaz has 22 at-bats since he was called up this month – and he’s hitting .409.) Does he understand how to construct a powerful offense? Judging from the fact that he actually thinks Terrence Long is a good player, no. (Actually, judging from his comments a few weeks ago that Long had been the Royals’ best player over the past month, I’m fairly certain he doesn’t know how to read a stat sheet.)

Actually, Jazayerli’s been calling Baird names for years. As for Bell’s “credentials, ” he was a perennial All-Star player who had already spent over a decade either as a coach or as a manager at the major league level. There’s quite a bit of experience there. As for Terrence Long’s “stat sheet”, Long’s stats were actually pretty good. He had a BA of .279 with 21 doubles and 6 HR’s. He also had a .378 SLG and 30 Walks. So Buddy Bell does know how to evaluate talent or at least bettern than Mr. Self-Styled Baseball Expert Rany Jazayerli.

Rob Neyer then had this characteristically uncharitable take on Bell:

How stupid is Buddy Bell?

I’m serious about this. I honestly think the Royals hired a stupid man to manage the team.

Last Wednesday, Bell felt compelled to explain why Terrence Long had been out of the lineup (sore knee). Tuesday, Bell said this about Andres Blanco, who at the time was batting .185: “I know his average is not very good, but he’s better offensively than I was led to believe. We do have to shrink his strike zone a little bit.” Wait a minute. Somebody led Bell to believe that Blanco was worse than a .185 hitter with zero power and zero — literally, zero — walks?

Allard Baird, given a choice among all the people in the world who might remotely be qualified to manage a baseball team, somehow managed to choose the dumbest of them. Among all the mistakes Baird has made over the years, this is the one that does, I think, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s incompetent.

Actually, Neyer’s been saying stuff like this about Baird for years. When your archives are walled off from the reading public, its always easy to make statements that make it sound as if you have just come to the conclusion that your target is a “incompetent” and not have folks go through your previous blog posts and come up with the fact that you have been saying that kind of stuff about your target for years. As for Blanco, his BA improved to .215 at season’s end showing that Bell was right in saying that Blanco is “better offensively that I was led to believe.” Later on, Rob Neyer wrote, “Andres Blanco looks like an outstanding second baseman.” Interesting that Blanco was first an incompetent and now he’s “outstanding.” How inconsistent can such a great and wonderful baseball analyst like Neyer get?

However, Rany Jazayerli gives Neyer a run for his money in the incompetent analysis department when he later wrote:

Speaking of Sweeney…I’d argue he ought to be traded, or even released, simply for his comment in today’s Star in which he argued that Terrence Long – Terrence Long! – deserved a Gold Glove.

I think the world of Sweeney as a person, but Sweeney as a ballplayer seems to embody everything that’s wrong with the Royals – the utter acceptance, even the glorification, of mediocrity. I think it’s wonderful that Sweeney will almost never speak ill of a teammate. But there’s a difference between being supportive and being delusional. There’s a reason that Terrence Long earned the nickname “Magellan” while with the A’s – it was because he seemed to traverse the entire outfield on his way to the ball. This year, according to BP’s defensive metrics, Long is 7 runs below average as an outfielder. That’s Gold Glove-caliber only when you compare him to Emil Brown, who is a ridiculous 14 runs below average.

Now, Mike Sweeney is the Royals’ best hitter, but Jazayerli wants to get rid of him simply for a comment. Actually, Long is a decent fielder as shown by his .989 Fielding Percentage in Left Field. Interesting how intrepid analyst Jazayerli cannot read this particular “stat sheet,” but instead relies on the discredited Baseball Prospectus and on name calling to tear down Long. If the stats do not bear out your case, you can always try stat bending and name calling.

Rob & Rany need to get a life.