Monday, June 18, 2018

2018 NFL Tournament of Champions: Group Play Week 7

The World Cup is underway in its group stage, while another tournament is well ahead of the game in its own group stage in the NFL Tournament of Champions!

This week we will hit the halfway point of group play as the elimination round picture starts to clear up a little bit. There isn't a ton of dominance; we lost half of our remaining undefeated teams last week and now only three teams remain unblemished. Six more teams, however, are sitting here with just a single loss to date. If the tournament were to end today, 3-2 would be the cutoff record in basically every group, though one group has a tie at 3-2 which would leave one team out.

To further clear this picture up, we're running through 24 more games today. Weather conditions from the weekend will be taken into account. You can view standings and scores here. All simulations are provided by WhatIfSports.com. Let's get to it!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Unwritten Rules vs Thug Baseball V

Here we go. It's been two months since my last post on the topic, and we need to have this conversation again.

Last night there was a little chaos in the Pirates-Diamondbacks game in Arizona. In the top of the seventh with the Pirates leading 5-0, Diamondbacks reliever Braden Shipley missed up and in on Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison, hitting him in the shoulder.



Shipley would miss up and in on the next batter as well, though this one just missed becoming a hit by pitch. Harrison would ultimately end up leaving the game, as noted in the above video. Now, if this were the end of it, I wouldn't have a post today. But this is how Pirates starter Joe Musgrove and manager Clint Hurdle decided to handle it.



In my repeated posts on this topic, this is the sort of thing I'm referring to when I talk about "thug baseball." The traditionalists, like Hurdle, defend this as "how baseball is supposed to be played" or some nonsense. But I don't care that it was a pitch that hit Owings in the butt; it was assault with a deadly weapon.

Now ultimately, the baseball gods seem to possibly be agreeing with my take on all of this, and karma won in the end.
The Diamondbacks would go on to win 9-5 with a four run rally in the eighth. After the game, Musgrove defended his decision with the above logic, never mind the fact that clearly, Shipley's pitch that hit Harrison was in no way intentional. Hurdle defended the actions as well.

Now while karma took care of this, if I were commissioner of Major League Baseball, I'd be taking heavy handed action on top of the loss the Pirates suffered last night. Musgrove would be facing a lengthy suspension, probably a minimum of ten games, and Clint Hurdle would be looking at possibly a longer amount of time off. This whole pretense of "protecting your teammates" is garbage. If Musgrove's pitch had been wild, it could have hit Owings in the back of the head instead of firmly on his rear. Just because the result ended up positive for the important parties involved doesn't justify Musgrove's actions or Hurdle's orders. This crap needs to stop, and unfortunately I don't think the karmic retribution is going to be enough to get rid of this neanderthal culture.

I keep saying it: eventually, someone is going to get seriously hurt by this outdated culture of thuggish retaliation. I'd like to see it gone before that happens. It would help if cavemen like Hurdle were gone to rid the game of their influence.

Monday, June 11, 2018

2018 NFL Tournament of Champions: Group Play Week 6

The NFL Tournament of Champions rolls on into its sixth week! We're just rolling along at this point as teams are starting to separate themselves from the pack. At the moment, just six unbeaten teams remain of the 52. Seven more have just one loss to date. These 13 are in pretty good shape, as the top six teams from each of the four groups in pool play will advance to the elimination round that starts in August.

But for now, teams still have to play everyone in their group and anything can happen. I'll be interested to see if anyone will survive to the elimination round unscathed.

But to get us there, we're working one week and one game at a time. Weather from the home location will be taken into account. You can see scores, schedules, and standings for each group here. All simulations are provided by WhatIfSports.com. Let's play football!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

2018 NFL Tournament of Champions: Group Play Week 5

It's been a chaotic last couple of weeks for me, but I'm still finding time for my latest pet project in the NFL Tournament of Champions!

Through the first four weeks of the tournament we still have nine teams without a loss to their name. On the other end of the spectrum, seven teams are still searching for their first victory. That leaves 36 other teams also around, still battling for the right to be one of the final 24 standing to determine our Champion of Champions.

So as has happened the first four weeks, I am going to take actual weather from the weekend into account. You can view standings and scores from the tournament here. All simulations are provided by WhatIfSports.com. Let's get to it!


Thursday, May 31, 2018

2018 NFL Tournament of Champions: Group Play Week 4

Hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend! The NFL Tournament of Champions is back in action, albeit a little later than I'd wanted after a busy weekend and chaos in the middle of the week.

I extended the days of Week 4 out to include Memorial Day as I think would have happened were this tournament being played in reality. The way the schedule aligns this week, five Dallas teams are hosting, so I'd have to spread it out anyway. And if this were in reality, even though it probably would have beaten the race, I wouldn't want to go up against the Indy 500.

Entering Week 4, a dozen undefeated teams still remain. At most we'll have four when everything is said and done given the nature of four groups playing a single round robin.

So how many will remain unbeaten after the dust clears this week? We're about to find out. Weather conditions from projected game times will be taken into account for these games. You can check out standings and scores from every week here. All simulations are provided by WhatIfSports.com. Let's get to it!


Thursday, May 24, 2018

The #TakeAKnee Dilemma

Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez (AP)
I've been wanting to write something about this for a while now, largely because the story keeps coming up. Then the furor dies down and I wasn't able to narrow down the stream of consciousness that this whole topic spurs. I think I've finally got enough coherent thoughts though that this time I'm good to go. I'd like to start by pointing out that what follows is purely my opinion. If you don't agree with it, fine. If you want to open up discussion about how you don't agree with me, again, fine. But I'm going to try to not engage in any personal attacks about this topic, because they don't help anything, and if you feel the need to engage in debate, I ask that you do the same.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2018 NFL Tournament of Champions: Group Play Week 3

I'm running a little bit behind again as we move into the third week of the 2018 NFL Tournament of Champions!

Of the 52 Super Bowl champions competing in this year's tournament, we still have 17 with unblemished records, although it's important to note that some of these teams have only played one game so far. With an odd number of teams in every group, we're getting four byes each week.

At the end of group play, the top six from each group will advance to elimination play. We're still a way's out from that yet, but these games are still just as important as the ones to come over the summer.

In an effort to make this as accurate as possible, I'm taking weather conditions from the host cities over the weekend and setting those for these games. Standings and round by round scores can be found here. All simulations are provided by WhatIfSports.com. Let's get to Week 3!